Audiences are being invited to ‘come to the Cabaret’ with Blackpool Opera House’s latest musical theatre offering.
Directed by National Theatre artistic director Rufus Norris, this landmark production begins in pre-Second World War Berlin, following aspiring writer Cliff as he gets caught up in a world of risqué cabaret dancers and sordidness, among a backdrop of political and social upheaval.
It is a show that has stretched boundaries to huge acclaim on an international scale, winning eight Oscars, seven BAFTAs and 13 Tonys since its Broadway premiere. On its latest national tour, it has continued to evolve and the progression of musical numbers ‘Two Ladies’ and ‘Money Makes The World Go Round’ are a real hit, – Olivier Award winner Javier de Frutos’ choreography is at once comedic and technically slick.
However, a starker contrast of the reality of Nazi Germany and the escapism of the Kit Kat Club would help in advancing this adaptation even further, especially in act one.
At the very centre of the show are two celebrity names – Will Young as the host and infamous Emcee and former Eternal and Strictly Come Dancing star Louise Redknapp as Sally Bowles. Both have experienced the life of a pop star and stints on reality television, and as such are no strangers to the spotlight.
But it is Young who steals this show, with his interpretation of the exaggerated and larger-than-life character made famous by Joel Grey.
It is clear to see why he was brought back to revive the role following his West End debut and his performances of songs including ‘Wilkommen’ and ‘Tomorrow Belongs To Me’ are truly captivating.
However Redknapp, while offering a strong stage presence, does not fit the edgy and raucous persona needed for her character and as such falls short the sensual, yet vulnerable, performance by Liza Minelli, in the 1972 film. Her pretty vocals and perfected dance moves are more suited to a good girl role, rather than the gritty one she is portraying.
The ensemble, nonetheless, remain committed to the highs and lows of the performance, their togetherness and characterisation remaining a highlight of the overall production.
Review: Cabaret by Rebecca Berentzen
Opera House, Blackpool
Tickets from £25