It’s Berlin, 1931 and we are welcomed into the smoke-filled, seedy and intimate confines of the Kit Kat Klub. We are escorted to our table by cheeky giggling dancing girls and told to enjoy the show. A slightly out of tune piano tinkles away in the background and adds to the atmosphere and realism of the setting. As an audience you are totally immersed in the action from the beginning, being thrust (quite literally) into the story in the cosy confines of the theatre.
The opening number immediately establishes that this will be a no-holds-barred show, surrounded by disembodied giggling and the eventual appearance of the scantily-clad dancing girls who play with the audience and immediately bring them into the action.
We meet the Emcee, superbly played by Stephen O’Brien who welcomes us to Berlin and demonstrates complete control of the audience and the part and brings not only naughtiness to the character but also a dark and unsettling intensity.
The star of the Kit Kat Klub is of course Sally Bowles, (Hebe Mitchell) who really comes into her own in the second half with a deeply disturbing and haunting rendition of Cabaret which beautifully captures the breakdown of the characters’ life and echoes the social breakdown which is beginning in Berlin with the rise of the Nazi Party.
Cliff Bradshaw played by Oliver Bradford allows us to see the story from an outside perspective giving us a window into events that is not tainted by Nazi propaganda.
Alexander Lewis presented a different look at the character of Ernst Ludwig and is a stark reminder that actually the Nazi’s were just people and that anyone could be taken in by them. By Act Two he demands attention and superbly demonstrates his misuse of power.
The gentle relationship between Freulein Schneider (Natasha Hyde) and Herr Schultz (Saifeddine Benamar) is beautiful to watch and their eventual split is heartbreaking.
One of the stand out performances of the night for me came from Lucy Long performing as Freulein Kost. She completely understood all of the subtle nuances of her character and played the role perfectly, owning the part and the stage.
It was good to see a performance of Cabaret where the ensemble were involved at all times. The chorus numbers were brilliantly choreographed and performed with great attack and courage from all involved. One particular number which was brilliant and hilariously funny was the delightfully naughty “Two Ladies” which was performed to its full comic potential by the Emcee, ably assisted by two cheeky dancing girls.
Overall the performance was very enjoyable and hats off to the brave cast for taking on such an iconic show.
If I had one criticism it would be that the vocals need a little more attack as at times it was difficult to hear all of the words of the musical numbers – it is too easy when performing in a small space to forget that you still need to push the vocals extra hard to be heard. That shouldn’t take away from the achievement of what was a fun, naughty, raunchy, disturbing, sexy and intense show that left the audience in a shocked silence. Well done to all involved.
Luke John Emmett
The Performing Arts department at the City of Bath College is currently undergoing a change and moving from BTEC courses to UAL courses. Look out for more details of the changes soon.