With a sensational cast, Cabaret sizzles on stage at Leeds Grand Theatre. Will Young treads the line between creepy, fun and hilariously camp as Emcee, who oversees the action as the Master of Ceremonies at the seedy Kit Kat Klub. Set in 1931 Berlin during the rise of the Nazis, a political undertone shapes the piece. Performer Sally Bowles takes a shine to American writer Clifford Bradshaw, who is convinced leaving the city is the best way forward for their relationship.
The show is at times uncomfortably sexy, and this isn’t a show for prudes, but it’s directed brilliantly by Rufus Norris and the the choreography by Javier De Frutos is dynamic and executed brilliantly by the chorus.
Louise Redknapp is unconvincing as Sally Bowles, and I can’t help but feel life imitates art as the almost deluded Bowles leaves a potentially lovely future ahead of her in search of perceived fame and her chance to shine on the stage of the Kit Kat Klub. Redknapp has a great deal of sex appeal and her singing is beautiful, though the character is one-dimensionally “silly” and overdramatic and for this complex character to really gain empathy from the audience we need Redknapp to dig a little deeper.
Charles Hagerty as Clifford Bradshaw is perfectly lovely, though he isn’t really a main figure in this show, more a character for others to bounce off. Linal Haft and Basienka Blake as Herr Schultz and Fraulein Kost are adorable and it’s their story I’m rooting for most.
With such classic songs running throughout the show, and the production really making them dazzle, it’s easy to imagine this will be a fun, light-hearted musical. Whilst it has all the toe-tapping components, Cabaret contains enough serious themes to really pack an emotional punch, making for an insightful and enjoyable evening.
Catch Cabaret at Leeds Grand Theatre until 28th October.