Cabaret*** (Savoy, 10 Oct 2012)

Posted: October 17, 2012 in Theatre

Any musical that is staged as a star vehicle for a pop singer and a soap actor needs to be approached with caution, but this revival of Rufus Norris’ 2006 production of the Kander & Ebb classic dispels most doubts. Will Young as Emcee first appears as a hideous demented clown and then becomes exposed (even literally) to varying degrees of ridicule which he carries through with assurance; he takes risks which could explain why his career has already outlasted most of the reality tv winners who succeeded him. However, Michelle Ryan, although not technically deficient, gives us a one dimensional Sally Bowles which alters the balance of the show; normally her relationship with Clifford (Matt Rawle) would be at the heart of the narrative but, here, the older couple take centre stage. Fortunately, Linal Haft and the wonderful Sian Phillips are on hand to grasp the opportunity with relish. If anything, the production over-emphasises the already obvious dark political undertones, particularly in a shocking finale but, overall it packs a real punch.

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