Cabaret, Theatre Royal Norwich, September 2012I've started to infect my whole family with the theatre bug - this outing saw me accompanied by Mr Norfolkbookworm and my dad, although this time I only had to walk to the theatre and dad had to make the long journey.
I think he found it worthwhile.
I knew the vague plot outline of the musical, but from reading Christopher Isherwood's books and autobiographies rather than the famous film adaptation which I haven't seen.
I was a little concerned about the leads in this version - in casting pop/TV stars I was a bit worried hat the production was all about making money through sell out audiences rather than quality.
Happily I was wrong. This is a musical that starts in a light hearted, comedic way with all the excesses of Berlin in the late 1920s and early 1930s clear to see. As the story unfolds it gets darker and darker to the truly shocking ending.
Even as the story spirals into the horrors of the Nazi era there are moments of humour and found the balance of humour and horror was very well done in this production. I have read a lot of comments on discussion boards at people being horrified by audience members laughing at parts of the show, but if like me they didn't know where, for instance the song The Future Belongs to Me, ends up then the start is funny. And yes I did feel guilty for laughing by the end of the song.
Although it has a start studded cast I found that this was forgotten quickly and all of them were very good, I did find it hard to hear all of the words when Will Young was singing sometimes but I do think that might have been more to do with the sound at the theatre than his voice. The costumes (and lack of them) were very good and the clever use of scenery made it easy to follow the many changes of location during the performance. I think that the Swing really deserve separate praise as the moves and dances they performed were truly jaw dropping, especially on moving scenery.
It has been a week since I saw the show and I am still humming the songs, but after watching clips on Youtube I'm not sure I will hurry to watch the film, it seems very much of its time rather than of Berlin in 1931.