Cabaret (UK Tour), New Wimbledon Theatre | Review

Saturday 23 September 2017

Cabaret (UK Tour)
New Wimbledon Theatre
Reviewed on Friday September 22nd 2017 by Olivia Mitchell

After Germany's defeat in World War 1, the treaty of Versaille was set out to totally humiliate the nation; inflation rocketed and the economy flew into a downward spiral. This was eventually stabilised but people had seen themselves and those around them lose everything so the idea of 'seizing the day' was adopted and Berlin became a heaving Bohemian world where you lived to enjoy the here and now. This is when we are thrown into the world of Cabaret. It's 1930 New Years Eve, a young American writer, Clifford Bradshaw has just arrived in Berlin and is ready to see what the city has to offer.

The show is a full on combination of things with dance, drink and drugs taking the lead as people relished in the decadent, censorship free lifestyle. The set by Katrina Lindsay manages to be bright and dark at the same time. There are moments of intense glitz and glam with flashing lights and moving sets but also moments of dim, dark spaces which imply what's to come as the golden age passes. The rise of fascism is extremely prevalent in Rufus Norris' production especially during the chilling final scene of act 1 when the Emcee turns into a puppet master, holding overgrown children at the end of strings as he sings the Aryan folk song Tomorrow Belongs To Me.

As the Emcee, Will Young is outstanding, suitably wacky but all-knowing at once. His comedic timing is wonderful as he soars through the notes with a sinister hint always shining through. Young is certainly the star of this show and it's clear why he was asked back to be part of the tour and his balloon clad rendition of Money was the stand out performance of the production for me. 

Louise Redknapp takes on the iconic role of Sally Bowles, the British showgirl who has lost her way. Unfortunately Redknapp's performance fell flat at times; instead of showing a crumbling, emotional girl she was decadent, bold and showed very minimal signs of her struggle. At times her voice was strong but fell flat on her big number, Maybe This Time. Sally Bowles was originally written to be a somewhat second rate performer which is why she has previously been cast as an actress who can sing and opposed to a singer who can act however, Louise kind of fell in between the two and I felt a little underwhelmed. 

Charles Hagerty is strong as Clifford, developing his various relationships well. His voice is incredibly strong and his performance of Why Should I Wake Up? is a stand out moment. A large part of the action has to do with Clifford's landlady Fräulein Schneider (Susan Penhaligon) and her relationship with the local Jewish fruit seller (Linal Schultz) as their normal lives begin to be put in jeopardy. The pair are great together and their affection for one another is very sweet to see.

This show is worth seeing for Young's performance and for the bold imaginative design and choreography but it needs more oomph overall.


  1. I remember studying this musical at college and after understanding more of the context, it's a bloody good musical! I am glad that Will Young is marvellous in his role, especially as he comes with some kinda expectation. I hope I get the chance to see this!

    Emmie x

    1. It's definitely a wonderful musical but I kind of felt like some of the layers were just brushed over so we didn't get the full intensity of the piece. I'd certainly go and see it for the experience but I wouldn't pay loads of money! xx

  2. I saw this tonight and was very impressed. I loved the previous version Will Young did at the Savoy with Michelle Ryan as Sally Bowles and the new incarnation is just as good. I was v impressed with Louise. If you are a fan of the film or the musical this is worth getting tickets for.

    1. Ohhh I didn't see the Savoy production but heard fairly good things. Was it very different to this one? I liked parts of Louise's performance but was a tad underwhelmed at times. xx

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