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Cabaret, Alhambra Theatre, Bradford, Monday 23 September 2013

Published by: GRAHAM CLARK on 26th Sep 2013 | View all blogs by GRAHAM CLARK
I have always thought that Will Young was a bit of a wet dishcloth as far as his singing goes, however, in the new production of Cabaret he shines in the role of Emcee. The character feels like it was made just for him to play. 

The play is set in pre-war Berlin in 1931 and the action centres around the Kit Kat Club which is run by Emcee. The show does have its lighter moments but there is a serious and dark side to the show with homophobia, race and relationships being called into question.

American writer, Clifford Bradshaw (Matt Rawle) arrives in Berlin looking for inspiration for his next novel. He stays at the boarding house run by Fraulein Schneider (played by Lyn Paul who you might recall from the New Seekers). Whilst in the city Bradshaw goes to the Kit Kat club and meets a former male lover there. Here he meets dancer Sally Bowles (played tonight by under-study Emily Bull) who he srtikes up a romantic relationship with. She eventually becomes pregnant, with Bradshaw being the probable father.

The first half of the show is quite easy going with a bed scene where many bodies coming out from under the sheets is pure pantomime. It is in the second half of the show when things  take a darker turn.

The Nazi's beging to gain power, Fraulen Schneider's proposed marriage to fruit and vegetable shop owner Herr Schultz (played with style by Linal Haft) is called off because he is a Jew. Bradshaw leaves Berlin and goes back to America. The Kit Kat club is closed down and the play ends with the members of the club meeting their fate in a gas chamber. As I said, it is not for the faint hearted. It was unusual for a show to end on such a dramatic finish. The audience remained silent for 10 seconds or so before the show received a standing ovation.

A thought provoking show with a set of great dancers and actors. 

Runs until Saturday 28 September.

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