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> 2017 Cabaret Touring Reviews, Will Young revives his award winning role as the Emcee.
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truly talented
post Sep 7 2017, 12:41 PM
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As Will is so incredible in this role I 've decided to make a thread with all the reviews from this tour so they can be linked in the pinned thread.


The Sun
Benjy Potter at New Wimbledon Theatre, London:

FEW can come close to Liza Minnelli’s portrayal of Sally Bowles in hit film Cabaret — but last night Louise Redknapp gave it all she had.She didn’t miss a beat as she stepped into Liza’s shoes and cartwheeled around the stage while belting out the hits.
Her dancing was fantastic, no doubt helped by her training on Strictly, left, last year.
And while her singing was good, at times it lacked heart and soul.......Meanwhile, the former Eternal singer’s Strictly pal Will Young stole the show as the eccentric Master of Ceremonies of Berlin’s Kit Kat Klub.
The show is packed full of sex, naked flesh and enough gags to have you laughing all the way home. But it’s a Cabaret you’ll never want to leave.

Define Arts
Cabaret, New Wimbledon Theatre :
The press night vibes at the New Wimbledon Theatre last night was noticeably electric pre-show. With Will Young reprising his West End performance as the Emcee, joined by current national sweetheart, Louise Redknapp as the troubled Sally Bowles; the theatre was packed with excited theatre goers and theatricals looking for a thrilling time.

Young's performance is arguably the best Emcee the U.K. has seen since Alan Cumming at the Donmar Warehouse in 1993. The painted face enhancing the manic facial expressions which come and go in the blink of an eye, the instantly dynamic rapport with his audience; we are taken from the extreme highs of "Two Ladies" (a brilliantly staged number, full of surprises!) to the awkwardly tense close of Act One, and by the end leaving us utterly devastated. Young's performance is a fine example of meticulous attention to detail combined with a passionate intensity; and watching him flitting from flirty and fun, terrifying and threatening to truly gut wrenching is a magical experience.

There is a fine performance too from Louise Redknapp; making her theatrical debut as Sally Bowles. The role is filled with emotional highs and lows, big vocal numbers and that's before you get to the dancing. Redknapp tackles all with gusto, proving able to belt out more than a simple pop song; and it's clear once she relaxes into the role a little more, her performance will continue to grow. Compared with almost all the young female performers who have moved from pop careers into musical theatre, her performance is most certainly one of the strongest debuts in recent years.

Strong supporting performances from Charles Hagerty as Bradshaw, who brought more heart to the role than I've seen previously through his strong, rich vocal performance, and the delightful duo of Susan Penhaligon (Fraulein Schneider) and Linal Haft (Herr Schultz) whose rendition of "It Couldn't Please Me More" restores your faith in romance.

The energetic, committed cast give their all throughout; with outstanding choreography by Javier De Frutos, brought to life seemingly effortlessly by a supremely talented ensemble, and insightful direction from Rufus Norris sprinkling just the right amount of fun and glitter amidst the tragic reality of the lives of the characters in their political landscape. One shouldn't say too much about the production's conclusion, only to commend Norris' decision to risk poignancy over pizazz. It pays off, in spades.
A splendid night out, which is full of moments to make you laugh, cry and most crucially as rarely these days, to make you think. No doubt Kenwright has another successful tour on his hands.

Sardines Magazine

Diana Eccleston, 22 September 2017:

The red carpet was out at New Wimbledon Theatre on Thursday for the launch of a new national tour of the musical Cabaret. It's been loved since its inception (not by me I'm afraid!) in the Sixties and a packed house was in attendance to roar their approval.

Once a member of girl group Eternal and the 2016 runner-up in Strictly Come Dancing, Louise Redknapp has been in the headlines of late due to her marriage troubles. Is she or isn't she splitting from footballer husband Jamie, that is the question many have been asking and maybe why so many have booked for the show.

But the question I wanted an answer to was: will she be any good in the iconic role of Sally Bowles, filled in the past by such big stars as Liza Minnelli, Judi Dench, Jane Horrocks, Natasha Richardson and Samantha Barks.

Answer: just OK. She certainly looks great and can sing. But Louise only ever really scratches the surface of a character who is ballsy on the outside (a raunchy dancer in the sleazy Kit Kat Club and apparently sleeps around) and a vulnerable woman in love on the inside. Her Maybe This Time could have been heart-breaking. It wasn't. And in her show numbers she is too restrained and wholesome. More sexy please Louise!

There's no saucy chair sequence for Mein Herr and some odd swivelling about of a set of stairs which she and the other dancers manage courageously.

Undoubted saviour of the piece is Will Young, funny, menacing, bitter, crazy as the club Emcee with his clownish white face, red lips and funny walk. His Money Song is delicious.

He won awards for the role when the show (also directed b Rufus Norris) was at the Savoy and well deserved they were too.

I have always been deeply disturbed by the depravity and bleakness of Cabaret, a snapshot of the dark underbelly of Berlin as the Nazis started their rise to power in the 1930s and before they stamped out the riotous anything-goes decadence portrayed at the Kit Kat Club. Jolly it certainly isn't.

The city and world are doomed, as are the relationships we see: Sally and her American novelist lover Cliff (an assured Charles Hagerty) plus old Fraulein Schneider, at whose house Cliff lodges, and her Jewish beau Herr Schultz, a greengrocer who sweetly courts her with bags of fresh fruit. Susan Penhaligon and Linal Haft are gently romantic.

The ensemble are very good and the onstage band terrific.
But tonight, tomorrow and every night belongs to Will Young's marvellous Emcee.

Time & Leisure
Friday 22 September 2017:

Will Young gave a captivating performance as Emcee on the opening night of Cabaret at New Wimbledon theatre.

The red carpet was out and the excitement tangible throughout the historic building as Bill Kenwright's production kicked off its UK tour.

Set in 1931 Berlin as the Nazis are rising to power, it focuses on the nightlife at the seedy Kit Kat Klub, and revolves around young American writer Cliff Bradshaw and his relationship with 32-year-old English cabaret performer Sally Bowles.

A sub-plot involves the doomed romance between German boarding house owner Fräulein Schneider and her elderly suitor Herr Schultz, a Jewish fruit vendor. Overseeing the action is Emcee, the Master of Ceremonies at the Kit Kat Klub - the club serving as a metaphor for ominous political developments in late Weimar Germany.

Will Young's (Emcee) rapport with the audience was established instantly and was captivating throughout, magically and effortlessly flitting at will from charming to comedic, crazed to sinister.

Alongside an energetic and sassy cast he provided plenty of frivolity and many laughs - the hilarious 'Two Ladies' was a real treat and full of the most unexpected surprises. The cleverly worked metaphoric dance routine with a gorilla for "If you could see her" displayed the wonderful detail Young has bought to the role and was both funny and thought provoking.

Louise Redknapp also gave a fantastic performance as Sally Bowles. Her talent for dance would of course not be in question given her appearance on Strictly, but her wonderfully accomplished and believable acting alongside her vocal abilities (well above that of her girlband origins) proved she is rightfully a headliner for her talent. Perhaps a little less girl-next-door and more raw sassyness becoming of the Kit Kat klub wouldn't go amiss, but otherwise an excellent opening performance met with rapturous applause.

A sweet performance of 'It Couldn't Please Me More' by Susan Penhaligon (Fraulein Schneider) and Linal Haft (Herr Schultz) added warmth and Charles Haggerty (Clifford Bradshaw) gave a strong, well rounded performance.

The hard-hitting and powerful delivery of the story's harrowing ending left the audience moved and, especially for those who didn't know the story, provided an unexpected and incredibly moving finale.

How wonderful it is to have the magnificent New Wimbledon Theatre on our doorstep.

The Live Review:

Amongst all the storyline we are often brought back to the ‘Kit Kat Club’ of which our host and master of ceremonies is Will Young who in this case is named ‘Emcee’. Will Young had already played this role in a previous staging of the show some years ago and this understanding of the role and character has certainly helped. No stranger to acting, originally a pop star he brought the humour, a fine voice and a great ability to hold his German accent throughout! A starring and memorable performance.

London Theatre Reviews:
Bill Kenwright’s production, directed by Rufus Norris, is exciting, enthralling and poignant! Reprising well-known motifs, while taking the heart and soul of the show to a whole new level, it serves as a reminder of just how good this piece really is and why it’s won 13 Tony awards – including best musical for the original Broadway production!

As our delightful host and Emcee, Will Young is exceptional! From the moment he appears, his warm presence and cheeky grin place you in that highly contented state that results only from knowing that a much-loved character is in very safe hands! His childlike innocence, a direct contrast to the debauchery of the scene around him, sets the paradox for the show as a whole. Without a doubt, Young carries this show. He is effortless on stage and the level of depth that he creates within the character knows no bounds. The audience are in stitches when he adlibs and close to tears during his soliloquy.

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. :
Cabaret is back in town! With a planned eleven-week run in motion, Will Young and Louise Redknapp are the top billing stars in the piece and it's a welcome return for Will who has played the Emcee role two or three times prior... and once you've seen it, you can see why.

Cabaret is an all singing, all dancing Theatrical spectacal with wonderful costumes and some of the most iconic songs in Musical Theatre, for example, 'Mein Heirr,' 'Maybe This Time' and title track 'Cabaret' among others and the plot sees Cliff Bradshaw arrive in Berlin. He is a young American writer coming to work on his new novel. He meets a gentleman, Ernst Ludwig, at the station... the gentleman offers Cliff work and recommends a boardinghouse... and soon the mayhem begins. Cliff bumps into a friend from London who asks him to meet him at The Kit Kat Klub, where he is introduced to Sally Bowles and their energetic relationship... Alongside this, Cliff's landlord Fräulein Schneider has a subplot of her romance with her elderly suitor Herr Schultzhas and the perils of him being a Jewish man in the beginnings of a Nazi world...

The great thing about Cabaret is how it's really dark and mystical and layered with such grotesque, sexual behaviour. It feels like the sexual nature of the show is used as a hybrid to mask the actual horror of what is happening... for example... Will Young's character sings this wonderful number 'Two Ladies' that sees him lying in bed with two women singing of a ménage à trois and throughout the track multiple people and props make an appearance during the track (for example, a giraffes head pops out at one time and had us absolutely gagged!)... The show has a really strong, homosexual theme running throughout it... Cliff's character is evidentially a bi-sexual character who kisses one of the dancers quite early on and Sally Bowles openly asks him about an affair between Cliff and the dancer in a London club... It seems they have quite a sordid relationship as they attend lots of wonderful parties and sleep with whoever they want, when they want. Will's character Emcee is sexual ambiguous and as he works as a narrator, his sexual preference isn't particularly relevant to the plot itself, but it's easy to pick out a homosexuality from him... especially with the ending scene when he becomes quite central to the plot of the show.

There is such a bitterness with the relationship of Fräulein Schneider and Herr Schultzhas... throughout the entire show, we root for them! We want them to be together and happy and when they do end up together, there's a silent cheer that happens in the audience and when Fräulein breaks up the marriage with Herr, it's incredibly heartbreaking because, we, as the audience do not understand how two people who should be together can't be together, however Fräulein delivers an incredibly powerful speech about how she's always been doing things for herself and will continue doing stuff for herself and the fact she's a single, elderly heiress... the feminist in us applauds her for putting herself first... but the hopeless romantic in us is disappointed they don't end up together.

So... Cabaret is an incredibly dark show. The undertones of Nazi Germany interpoled with the sexual nature of The Kit Kat Club are so finely placed, you can easily forget about the horrors of the world and live life like Sally Bowles' character... but sadly, the dramatic irony of the Nazi's rise to power becomes the closing scene and it ends of a pretty intense and horrifying scene. We certainly recommend checking the show out as it plays with all your emotions and Will is absolutely wonderful in the show. I mean everyone is... but Will was particularly wonderful.

This is #Cabaret 'in all it's glory' - @willyoung is 'a treat'.

Cabaret - review
September 24, 2017

New Wimbledon Theatre

Will Young stars as the eccentric Emcee in the new UK tour of Cabaret.

‘Cabaret’ is running at the New Wimbledon Theatre until 30th September before embarking on it’s UK tour

When Cabaret first premiered on Broadway in 1966, it was an instant success, running for almost 3 years. At that point however, it had nowhere near the iconic status it has in musical theatre today. After a 1972 film starring Liza Minnelli and a reincarnation by director Sam Mendes in 1993, the Cabaret on tour today is almost an entirely new show to the original.

Not only does every production seem to have a different line up of songs, mixing those of the film with the original musical, but Cabaret is unmistakeably now a show for a 21st century audience. It doesn't shy away from the subjects of drugs, sex and homosexuality. They are shoved right into the audience's face, not allowing us to shy away from them.

The harshness of the Nazi regime is striking, only clearly being mentioned at the end of the first act during 'Tomorrow Belongs to Me' as Emcee gets a Hitler moustache stuck on his upper lip and reveals the swastika emblazoned bottoms of his marionette controls. Building throughout the second half, the cruelty of the Nazis is shown ever clearer until the final tableau comes which made me feel like I'd had my guts torn out. To watch the performers of the Kit Kat club all standing there naked and vulnerable as the screen slowly comes down on the Nazi's regime.

Carrying the whole show is pop singer Will Young (Mrs Henderson Presents, The Vortex), as the Emcee of the Kit Kat club. Wearing shorts that are far too tight and suspenders, Young's portrayal of Emcee is completely different to the original, tuxedo wearing portrayal by Joel Grey. He's eccentric and child-like, a treat to watch. Susan Penhaligon (A Fine Romance, Emmerdale) and Linal Haft (Ripper Street, EastEnders) are delightful to watch as Frӓulein Schneider and Herr Schultz, filling the stage with joy and a gentle warmth in 'It Couldn't Please Me More'.

Newcomer to the show Louise Redknapp, who makes her theatrical debut as Sally Bowles, didn't overwhelm me with emotion at all in the show's most well known song, 'Maybe This Time'. However, by the end of the second half, she really came into the character in the titular song, 'Cabaret'. It isn't a performance worthy of any awards, but for a theatrical debut, Redknapp does a respectable job in a difficult role to get right.

Javier De Frutos's choreography is slick and reveals so much to the story, building the world of 1930s Berlin in front of our eyes. The thrusting and grinding, incorporated with sniffing along the hand sets up the wildness that it's vital that Cabaret shows to the audience, yet contrasts well with the restricted, jazz routines of the kit Kat Club. The choreography matches well with Rufus Norris's direction, developing on Sam Mendes's 1993 direction to make it ever more moving, leading to the final tableau at the end (which I won't spoil....).

Bill Kenwright's production showcases Cabaret in all it's glory and Will Young welcomes the audience, drawing them in from the beginning to the very end. In the words of Sally Bowles, 'Life is a cabaret, old chum, so come to the cabaret.' It's worth it.

Cabaret runs at the New Wimbledon Theatre until 30th September before continuing it's tour around the UK to Blackpool, The Malverns, Cardiff, Leeds, Milton Keynes, Salford, Edinburgh, Bromley, Dublin and Brighton.

At The Theatre
Cabaret – UK Tour
25 Sep 2017/Emma McGuire/
*** Musicals, UK Tour

Life is once again a cabaret as Rufus Norris’ 2012 West End production is revived for a new UK tour. Cabaret is a musical with music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb, and book by Joe Masteroff based on the play by John Van Druten and stories by Christopher Sherwood. It is set around the Kit Kat Cabaret Club in Berlin in the 1930s and follows the club’s star Sally Bowles. This No.1 UK tour production directed by Rufus Norris perfectly captures the contrast of the extravagant Berlin nightlife and the sinister rising of the Nazis to power. It’s a slick production full of grit and glamour.

Will Young reprises his Olivier nominated role as the Emcee. He is charismatic, eccentric and delivers flawless vocals. He provides two real highlights of the show, the first being the comical number ‘Two Ladies’ which contains some brilliant physical comedy and secondly the devastatingly dark ‘Tomorrow Belongs To Me’.

Taking on the iconic lead role of Sally Bowles was Louise Redknapp who unfortunately lacked the bold, dynamic spark necessary for the role. Disappointingly her performance did not match the standard of the rest of the cast. Charles Hagerty delivers a strong, confident and likeable performance as Clifford Bradshaw. Susan Penhaligon and Linal Haft as Fraulein Schneider and Herr Schultz are a wonderful pairing and their final scene is absolutely heartbreaking. However, in this exhilarating production the ensemble are the true stars of the show. Their individuality and fearlessness as performers creates an electric atmosphere which is incredibly exciting to watch.

The choreography by Javier De Frutas is sinister, intoxicating and at times shocking. De Frutas makes bold choices which reflect the political issues of the time. Kander and Ebb’s 1966 score is timeless, still proving to be incredibly bold and moving. Combined with Tim Whiting’s great musical direction and his brilliant band the instrumentals are really quite a treat for the ears.

Designer Katrina Lindsay has created a gritty world of fantasy that you can’t help but be drawn in to.

There were a few slip ups from the principal cast but that may have been down to press night nerves. It is a shame that a tour of this standard felt the need to cast a celebrity name as it’s leading lady as her theatrical inexperience was evident throughout the show.

The last 15 minutes of the production are sinister and uncomfortable to watch but brilliantly executed and worth the ticket price alone.The ability to contrast something so spectacular with something completely uncomfortable is what is brilliant about this show. These moments are what make it a great piece of theatre. The production is not without it’s faults but it is definitely worth catching while it is touring the UK.

Cabaret is playing at the New Wimbledon Theatre until Saturday 30th September, to buy tickets visit New Wimbledon Theatre. ... t-uk-tour/


Cabaret is a well-known musical that I hadn’t been very familiar with until recently. I only watched the original film last month, so to be seeing this new touring production soon after, I was very much looking forward to it. A Kander and Ebb classic, Cabaret follows the life of performer Sally Bowles in 1930’s Berlin as the Nazi’s are rising to power. The context and exploration of this idea is used well throughout the show, leaving a powerful message and the idea that there are two sides to every story.

I was very entertained, thrilled and somewhat haunted – in a positive way – by what this version of the show had to offer. Will Young is exceptional as the Emcee. He has done it before and it shows. He knows how the character works and lifts the energy on-stage whenever he appears – numbers such as “Money” and “If You Could See Her” are performed with depth and spot-on irony, while “I Don’t Care Much” is hauntingly beautiful. One of my favourite moments was “Two Ladies” in which the Emcee and members of the Kit Kat Klub (a wildly fantastic ensemble) get up to various group sex activities. It’s a hilarious scene to watch and how they designed the bed to be able to fit everyone in (no pun intended) was genius.

I must admit I had quite a low expectation for Louise Redknapp as Sally Bowles and regretfully, it was rightfully placed. In the original film, Liza Minnelli’s portrayal of the character I found to be super intriguing and multi-dimensional. Where Redknapp falls short is her lack of depth, she has a very “I’m doing musicals now” attitude, but ironically, very little stage presence. It felt as though she had just memorised the script and was saying and singing the contents of the show without analysing what the character would be doing at this specific moment or in each specific situation. It’s very forced and misses the mark at several moments in the show, and during “Maybe this Time” she held back on some of the bigger notes and I just wanted more, and felt she could do it, but she just didn’t push herself. The moment I enjoyed the most was the title 11’o’clock number “Life is a Cabaret” but this was mainly due to the staging and Rufus Norris’ unique direction. I would love to see the show again with a theatre professional who would really be able to do the brilliant role justice.

The rest of the cast are great too – I enjoyed seeing Charles Hagerty (as Cliff Bradshaw) again, having seen him in West End’s The Bodyguard. It’s great to see that another American actor following the likes of the talented Chris Peluso and Joe Aaron Reid, has rightfully come into his own on the London stage as a leading man (a few years ago all these guys were Broadway understudies – not that there is anything wrong with that because understudies are the best, it’s just cool to see their career progression!).

The production may not have the biggest budget, following suit of most Bill Kenright-produced tours, but it didn’t damper my experience entirely. This is a show that doesn’t need a big spectacle to help, or in some cases hinder, the material. And the material does it – it shines through, stands the test of time and is still relevant and powerful. There are beautifully written segments of music that are haunting and striking, and performed with sheer perfection by this cast and the on-stage orchestra – which we see a lot of as they suspend over the action.

Overall, Cabaret is a fun, brilliant, boundary-pushing musical, although I feel this mixed-bag production is not the fullest representation of all that the show can achieve.

This post has been edited by truly talented: Oct 4 2017, 05:29 PM
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truly talented
post Oct 4 2017, 05:15 PM
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- Cabaret at @WGOperaHouse @WGBpl with
@willyoung @LouiseRedknapp "poignant and utterly moving" ★★★★★

Cabaret - Opera House, Blackpool

Opera House Susan Penhaligon, Will Young, Cabaret, Blackpool, Louise Redknapp, Linal Haft,
As we took our seats in the stalls, the two young women next to us were staring at the stage and looking puzzled. A giant WILL KOM MEN stood proudly, the sections of the word stacked one on top of the other. And to two Will Young fans, it was a mystery only solved when we explained the world meant 'welcome' in German and that the show is set in Berlin, in the early 1930s, as the force of Nazism was gathering momentum.

Welcome to the world of Cabaret, old chum.

That strange stack of letters was our first glimpse of a set which proved as versatile as the performers who strutted upon it – and the first hint of that came when Young, as the Emcee, suddenly appeared through the central O to begin his opening number. It was our introduction to a wild, wacky, manic and ultimately tragic ride, in a show that pulled at the emotions and refused to let go.

Rarely have I felt so engaged in what was going on upon the stage. There were moments when the volume (and sense of tension) were turned up to 11, while the silences were telling, poignant and utterly moving, culminating in a final scene which brought a lump to the throat.

This production marks Louise Redknapp's musicals debut and she has some mighty big shoes to fill. Can anyone better Liza Minnelli in the 1972 movie? Redknapp gave it a bloody good try, and she brought something fresh to Life is a Cabaret – no mean achievement. Her vocals were nuanced, her acting surprisingly good and she literally threw herself into the demanding choreography – an excellent all-round performance.

The doomed late-in-life love story of boarding housekeeper Fraulein Schneider and Jewish fruiterer Herr Schultz was perfectly pitched by Susan Penhaligon and Linal Haft, whose tender duets were among my favourites in a show which is packed with delights. The choreography included some heart in the mouth moments as the dancers performed all manner of eye-watering manoeuvres in the skimpiest of costumes.

This show is an absolute joy – and at the heart of it all is Will Young, commanding the stage, pulling the strings and toying with our emotions at every end and turn. I couldn't take my eyes off him as he pranced and preened, leered and cackled. The Money Song was incredible but it was in his more studied moments that I loved him most. This role was made for Young and it's clear he relishes every moment of playing it.

I've witnessed some fine shows this year, but this one sits at the top of the tree.

As the cast departed the stage following extended rapturous applause, our two young neighbours were smiling broadly. They might have arrived as Will Young fans, but I like to think they left with a newly found love of musical theatre.

Cabaret is at the Opera House, Blackpool until Saturday, October 7th For tickets and more information visit

Reviewer: Sandra Mangan

Reviewed: 3rd October 2017

North West End Rating: ★★★★★

The Yorkshire Times

Another fabulous Review for Will -from The Yorkshire Times:

Cabaret - Blackpool Opera House
Graham Clark, Features Writer

The last time I saw Will Young in Blackpool he was playing a Radio 2 concert in the Floral Hall. I wasn't too impressed as he seemed a little insipid, however in his role of Emcee, master of ceremonies, in this new production of Cabaret he is exceptional.

It is a role that appears was made for him to play: risque, at times camp but always entertaining, his facial mannerisms ranged from quizzical to childlike amazement.

He appears at the start of the evening out of the letter O in the giant wires WILL KOM MEN.

Set in the early 1930's in Berlin the costumes do not leave much to the imagination, there are plenty of corsets, stockings and heels and at times total nudity from both male and female members of the cast.

American writer Charles Bradshaw (Charles Hagerty) arrives in the city to find some inspiration for his forthcoming novel. Most of the action duration on the night takes place in the Kit Kat Club.

He meets dancer Sally Bowles (Louise Redknapp). I never realised that she has such a strong singing voice, which was never heard when she was in the girl group, Eternal. Her acting at times seemed a little wooden but her vocals more than made up for it.

There are some comical scenes such as the bed scene where many people seem to be coming and going in and out of the bed; in a way it brought a Pantomime touch to the proceedings.

Fraulen Schneider (Susan Penhaligen) and Herr Schultz (Lina Hart) as the owners of the bedsit and the Jewish shopkeeper respectively are brilliant, they provide some wisdom and best laughable lines of the night.

The first half of the evening is not too dark, however the dark undertones of The Nazi ideology come to the fore during the second half of the show.

With perfect choreography and a story line that stays close to the original film version this is a dazzling, energetic production. The songs such as Money Makes the Workd Go Round and of course Cabaret where Redknapp comes into her own, are all there.

As the song goes "Come to the Cabaret", you certainly will not be disappointed with this stunning version.

Runs until Saturday 7 October
0844 836 1111

Plays Leeds Grand Theatre 24-28 October
0844 848 2700 ... =hootsuite


10/5/2017 0 Comments

Cabaret is a vibrant and moving musical which transports us to Berlin on the cusp of World War 2; however, many of the performances in this cast fail to invoke any real emotion. The production itself is a very high standard, and wonderfully directed by Rufus Norris of the National Theatre, but unfortunately there is a clear disconnection and detachment between the lead cast members.

Despite this, Will Young shines through in his portrayal of The Master of Ceremonies, his attention to detail does not go amiss and he perfectly embodies the nature of an ultimate showman – a dazzling, weird and wonderful performance (in the best possible way)! The ensemble is also a delight to watch, perfectly choreographed by Olivier Award winner Javier de Frutos. Every ‘Kit Kat Club’ performance is mesmerising and the energy levels are exhilarating, skillfully captivating the vibe of 1930’s Berlin. Louise Redknapp and Matt Rawle, despite singing beautifully, are missing a depth of connection to their characters Sally Bowels and Cliff. Pleasant performances are executed well from a technical point of view, but there is a lack of energy at points and there is a struggle to maintain the German accent.

This show breeds the question – does star casting work? We have two interesting examples here: On one hand, Will Young provides a stellar performance; his characterisation morphs him into a completely different person, bold and unwavering as he commands the attention of the audience every moment he’s on stage. On the other, Louise Redknapp gives a charming performance, yet instead of feeling like I’m watching Sally Bowels, I am oddly aware that I am just watching Redknapp sing and strut around the stage, which may very well be the intention of the company. This lively musical is a real crowd-pleaser, and regardless of certain flaws, this show certainly transports the audience to the hedonistic night scene of 1930’s Berlin! - Anna Jobarteh

Blackpool Gazette

Audiences welcomed to the cabaret as UK tour of hit show lands in resort Will Young as Emcee in Cabaret DIGITAL REPORTER Email Published: 13:59 Thursday 05 October 2017

Audiences are being invited to ‘come to the Cabaret’ with Blackpool Opera House’s latest musical theatre offering. Directed by National Theatre artistic director Rufus Norris, this landmark production begins in pre-Second World War Berlin, following aspiring writer Cliff as he gets caught up in a world of risqué cabaret dancers and sordidness, among a backdrop of political and social upheaval. It is a show that has stretched boundaries to huge acclaim on an international scale, winning eight Oscars, seven BAFTAs and 13 Tonys since its Broadway premiere. On its latest national tour, it has continued to evolve and the progression of musical numbers ‘Two Ladies’ and ‘Money Makes The World Go Round’ are a real hit, – Olivier Award winner Javier de Frutos’ choreography is at once comedic and technically slick. However, a starker contrast of the reality of Nazi Germany and the escapism of the Kit Kat Club would help in advancing this adaptation even further, especially in act one. At the very centre of the show are two celebrity names – Will Young as the host and infamous Emcee and former Eternal and Strictly Come Dancing star Louise Redknapp as Sally Bowles. Both have experienced the life of a pop star and stints on reality television, and as such are no strangers to the spotlight. But it is Young who steals this show, with his interpretation of the exaggerated and larger-than-life character made famous by Joel Grey. It is clear to see why he was brought back to revive the role following his West End debut and his performances of songs including ‘Wilkommen’ and ‘Tomorrow Belongs To Me’ are truly captivating. However Redknapp, while offering a strong stage presence, does not fit the edgy and raucous persona needed for her character and as such falls short the sensual, yet vulnerable, performance by Liza Minelli, in the 1972 film. Her pretty vocals and perfected dance moves are more suited to a good girl role, rather than the gritty one she is portraying. The ensemble, nonetheless, remain committed to the highs and lows of the performance, their togetherness and characterisation remaining a highlight of the overall production. Review: Cabaret by Rebecca Berentzen Opera House, Blackpool Until Saturday

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UK Theatre Network

UK Theatre Network

Published by: Kirstie Niland on 5th Oct 2017 | View all blogs by Kirstie Niland
The Opera House, Blackpool Winter Gardens, until Saturday 7th October

Put down the knitting, the book and the broom…and come join the Cabaret in Blackpool this weekend. But prepare to be shocked as well as entertained because this dark, sometimes funny, often thought-provoking musical delivers much more than memorable song and dance routines.

Set in the seedy Kit Kat Club, during a time of tyranny in 1930s Berlin, the tangled lives of Cabaret’s main characters hurtle along a path of destruction in parallel with the horrifying consequences of the Nazis’ rise to power.

The award-winning team of director Rufus Norris and choreographer Javier De Frutos has created a spectacle of decadence and debauchery; underpinned by the unlikely love story of American writer Cliff Bradshaw, played with engaging intensity by Charles Hagerty, and the promiscuous, risqué English cabaret performer Sally Bowles - aka TV celebrity and singer Louise Redknapp. Famed for her success in 90s R&B girl group Eternal, Louise is a natural on stage. With a voice powerful enough to fill the massive Opera House auditorium, she is both distracting and inspiring. Perfectly Marvellous in fact.

As a fan of 80s TV sitcom, A Fine Romance, and the character Helen played by Susan Penhaligon, it was a real treat to see her on stage as the German boarding house owner Fräulein Schneider, performing the amusing, sentimental duets with Linal Haft as the Jewish fruit vendor Herr Schultz; and her rendition of So What? was just lovely.

But the biggest impact of all came from singer and Pop Idol winner Will Young, whose portrayal of the flamboyant, androgynous and ghoulish Emcee is simply mesmerising. I would see Cabaret again for his performance alone.

The other main characters and ensemble execute the script and choreography with just the right amount of abandon to shock – but not too much.

There are some brilliantly staged scenes, such as the Emcee looming above the dancers as a puppeteer pulling their strings, a fast and furious rendition of Money – and a very clever back to front sequence where Sally’s show at the Kit Kat Club goes on eerily behind a fringed curtain, as though we are backstage looking on.

The Opera House, which features one of world’s largest stages, is ideal for the dramatic set design, from the enormous WILLKOMMEN sign, to the dazzling giant letters spelling KABARET and live band perched on a light-framed platform in the backdrop.

n 1966 Walter Kerr was famously quoted in the New York Times as saying that Cabaret “opens the door to a fresh notion of the bizarre, crackling, harsh and the beguiling uses that can be made of song and dance.”

Today Cabaret still does that - this surprising, politically charged yet hugely watchable show, with whirling dancing and wry lyrics spinning the characters on a decadent high, before they fall, unravelling, as the Nazis become an oppressive presence, and a tragic finale shows the party is well and truly over.

Highly recommended.

This post has been edited by truly talented: Oct 6 2017, 10:14 AM
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post Oct 5 2017, 10:14 AM
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Great reviews for Will and the show yahoo.gif and I'm wondering whether Louise Redknapp is improving as time goes on. The acting will be hard for her so I'm expecting when I see it that will be the weak spot but stand to be corrected.
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Where's the forum gone??
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post Oct 10 2017, 12:23 PM
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Photos from the current production.

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post Oct 10 2017, 12:26 PM
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QUOTE(suggy @ Oct 9 2017, 11:04 AM) *
Where's the forum gone??

Along with the old Darius and Elvis Forums it has been moved here to the Retro Lounge now as part of the Artist Forum changes that have recently taken place with newer artists taking their place on the Artist Forums. Sad I know, but I suppose the positive thing is that Darius and Will Young content in particular is now boosting the previously quiet Retro Lounge.

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The Hereford Times

Cabaret at Malvern Theatres starring Will Young and Louise Redknapp
Rebecca Cain

CABARET was nothing like I expected it to be – and I loved every second.

As uncultured as I am, I didn’t know the storyline before I went to the sold-out performance last night at Malvern Theatres.
Not only did I not expect the full frontal nudity but I also wasn’t present epared for the rollercoaster of emotions I felt during the show.
I went from feeling delight and awe at the amazing choreography and singing - to feeling uncomfortable and on edge as the story edged closer to a Nazi-run Germany.

The story takes place in Berlin in 1931 in the midst of the post-First World War economic depression.

The first half focuses on the exciting and alluring Kit Kat Club where the master of ceremonies is played by the fantastic Will Young.
He is mesmerising at the pansexual Emcee who guides the audience through the show with humour but is also able to tug at the heartstrings during the darker moments – mainly in the second half.

Louise Redknapp is sensational as Sally Bowles, a performer at the Kit Kat Klub. There is no doubt she is a brilliant singer and dancer.
She strikes up an unconventional romance with aspiring author, Clifford Bradshaw, played by Charles Hagerty, who has just arrived in Berlin.

While his sensible landlady, Fraulein Kost, played by Susan Penhaligon, agrees to marry fruit seller, Herr Schultz, played by Linal Haft.

But in the second half things start to go wrong as the beginnings of Hitler’s totalitarian regime become more obvious.

It is a stunning show – the set looks amazing and the costumes are fabulous.

The dancers at the Kit Kat Klub are also a huge part of the show and are all incredibly talented.

Cabaret is a joy to watch, even in its darker moments, and has now become one of my all-time favourite shows.

Cabaret is at the Malvern Theatres until Saturday. Due to its popularity it has sold out. To find out more go to

A View from Behind the Arras

Malvern Theatres

With Will Young reprising the role that won him accolades in the West End, there's an air of excitement surrounding this touring production.
Add to that the likes of Louise Redknapp alongside him, tickets for its week-long stint in Malvern sold out quickly.
I must admit, I was wary about former pop singer and Strictly star Redknapp playing the role of carefree nightclub singer Sally Bowles (a part made famous by Liza Minnelli in the movie) in depraved 1930's Berlin. I thought she may come across as too wholesome and nice.
Instead she puts on a steely, aloof persona that results in an impressive theatre debut performance. Her time on Strictly Come Dancing has helped her keep in with the exact dance routines, but it's her voice that really is her forte. She makes decent work of songs Cabaret and Maybe This Time, in particular.
The limelight, however, firmly shines on Will Young. He's perfected the role of Emcee - a part he is reprising for this acclaimed Rufus Norris production. The first time around, Young was nominated for an Olivier award and won other gongs including a WhatsOnStage prize.
For those who don't know, the story is told through the eyes of aspiring American writer Clifford after he arrives in the party city of Berlin. It's a snapshot of life connected to a seedy cabaret bar he frequents and where he meets good time girl Sally Bowles amid the rise of the Nazis.
Act One is jolly and wild with titillating routines at the Kit Kat Club by a troupe of seductive dancers led by Young's master of ceremonies Emcee. It's all very enticing and funny with a touch of nudity and bawdiness about it.
There's hope and romance too but mostly from the elderly couple living as neighbours in Clifford's lodgings. Their scenes are probably the most emotional. Susan Penhaligon and Linal Haft are outstanding as mature lovers Fraulein Schneider and Herr Schultz, who must face up to issues surrounding his Jewish heritage.
The close of the first act warns the audience of the gloom to come as Emcee appears as a puppet master with a striking resemblance to Hitler controlling the dancers to menacing song Tomorrow Belongs To Me.
Into the second act, it's a much darker tale but with some of the most stunning performances. Young comes into his own even more so and his performance of I Don't Care Much is beautifully sung with remarkable poignancy. It's not hard to see why he won awards.
The movie of Cabaret has set a high standard as it won eight Oscars, but National Theatre Artistic Director Rufus Norris has come close with this atmospheric, slick, memorable version. The dance scenes, choreographed by Olivier Award winner Javier de Frutos are stunning too and the striking finale is a touch of class.
This production has already enjoyed two smash hit West End runs and is now on this brief UK tour. It's an exceptional show all-round but the night ultimately belongs to Will Young. To 14-10-17.

Alison Brinkworth

Malvern Observer

WHAT good is sitting alone in your room? Come, hear the music play… as award-winning musical Cabaret hits the stage.

A standing ovation was lavished upon the sparkling sell-out show at Malvern Theatre, in which glamour and divine decadence attempt gloss over the dark and disturbing backdrop of Nazi Germany.

In the role that earned him an Olivier award nomination, Will Young reprises his critically acclaimed performance of Emcee in Rufus Norris’ production of Cabaret.

The Master of Ceremonies at the seedy Kit Kat nightclub serves as the storyteller is this tale of forbidden love and brutal politics. Young is quite mesmerizing onstage as Emcee with an outrageous, cheeky surface demeanor, flecked with increasingly disturbing undertones.

Welcoming audiences to the show – his show – Young guides us through the pleasure and pain the underworld of Berlin in 1931.

The supporting cast of Kit Kat club singers and dancers literally shine on stage, grotesquely beautiful, sexy and risque in numbers that begin as luxurious and frivolous, but which gradually reveal the creeping darkness of the politics and the growing acceptance of anti-semitism in Nazi Germany.

TV presenter, musician and 2016 Strictly Come Dancing runner up Louise Redknapp stars alongside Young, as the outrageous and fragile Sally Bowles.

Her vocals are flawless, and her scatty, colourful performance as Sally hints at the melancholy that lies beneath the hollow pleasures of the glitzy showgirl lifestyle.

The story set in Berlin, 1931, sees the Nazis rising to power, and focuses on the nightlife at the underground Kit Kat Klub, where young American writer Cliff Bradshaw meets 32-year-old English cabaret performer Sally Bowles.

With a live orchestra on stage, Cabaret feels like a real-life underground show, with scanty clad dancers, sequins, champagne, fluttering eyelashes and leather hotpants in abundance.

Featuring show-stopping choreography, dazzling costumes and some of the most iconic songs in musical theatre including Money Makes The World Go Round,Two Ladies, Maybe This Time and of course, Cabaret.

Tickets for the entire run at Malvern have sold out, but this show is not one to be missed and comes highly recommended.

Bromsgrove Advertiser

11th October
Cabaret provides delightful debauchery
Alan Wallcroft

HEAD back five years to 2012, a year when singer Will Young was nominated for an Olivier award for his West End performance as the enigmatic over-the-top master of ceremonies in this simply superb musical which is set mainly in the decadent Kit Kat Club in Berlin.

Now, in this Rufus Norris revived production, which opened in London and is currently touring the UK until December, Young has reprised his Emcee role to such stunning effect he once again deserves another Olivier award nomination.

Director Norris ensures the exhilaration of eccentricity and pace of perversions rarely slows down, apart from the moments of tenderness, sadness and hints of the terror beginning to emanate in Germany as the 1930s unfold.

The stirring and wonderfully evocative Tomorrow Belongs To Me offering a portent of the problems the world will face less than a decade away!

Katrina Lindsay’s wonderful design evokes the Weimar Berlin of 1931 in a country still scarred by the Great War.

It switches comfortably from dark and brooding to the bright lights of showbiz, a run-down boarding house right through to the over-the-top debauchery of the night club. And it’s here where the show’s choreographer, Javier De Frutos, ensures the dancing delights of the ‘boys and girls’ is full throttle energy and fully revealing in every sense of the word.

It’s now just over half-a-century on from when Joe Masteroff’s book was first performed as a stage musical with John Kander and Fred Ebb responsible for the music and lyrics respectively. That show had Joel Grey and Jill Howarth in the main roles and then it had Emcee as the focus, but when it came to the legendary 1972 Bob Fosse film the main story-line switched to Sally Bowles, a role played in wonderful style by Liza Minelli.

Grey continued in his role in the film and provided an iconic performance - probably one that is the yard-stick against whom everyone else is judged.

Now Will Young, who has been there and done it with a number of musical awards and successes, can justifiably stand side-by-side and bear comparison with his own devil-may-care Emcee, along with his brief but forbidding border guard moments.

Alongside him as the other star of the show is the former Eternal girl group member and solo singer, Louise Redknapp, who is on her stage debut tour.

She arrived as Sally hot on the heels of her appearance on television’s Strictly Come Dancing, and in order to land the part, she had three auditions - one lasting five hours.

She has since said: “For the first time in my life, I had to go for a real, proper audition and learn a script and act and put myself out there, for Rufus Norris at the National Theatre.

“It was one of the scariest things I’ve done, and the most intimidating, as they wanted to be certain that this was the right role for me to do, so I was put through my paces and I’m grateful for that.”

As someone who has said she always loved dancing, along with singing, acting is a new task and she’s delighted to have the opportunity to do all three.

There may be one or two things to learn on the acting front, but she gave it her all and she can certainly deliver a song - be it a belter or melancholic.

There’s more to come here.

Plenty of experience on the acting front elsewhere to provide excellent support from a strong cast including Nicholas Tizzard (Ernst Ludwig), Susan Penhaligon (Fraulein Schneider), Charles Hagerty (Clifford Bradshaw) and Linal Haft (Herr Schulz).

Put them in the mix with the Kit Kat’s scantily clad dancers and it’s a show that cannot go wrong.

The one great pity this week is that the Festival Theatre isn’t bigger. Just over 800 were packed into the auditorium for Tuesday’ opening night but they could have filled it twice over. So phenomenal has been the demand for tickets every single seat for the one week run has been sold and the waiting list for any returned tickets has grown considerably by the day.

Those of us lucky enough to see the show know we had great fun and were regally entertained - as the end of show response clearly demonstrated with a standing ovation, cheers and half-a-dozen curtain calls!

Something Malvern audiences are not usually renowned for but there was no mistaking their appreciation here.

If only Cabaret could come back again… and soon!

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Louise makes her debut in Cabaret, old chum
Infused with the chaotic decadence of pre-war Berlin, Cabaret, starring Louise Redknapp, glitters and engages

Andrea Smith
October 30 2017 2:30 AM

That the musical Cabaret goes heavy on sexy fishnets, suspenders and corsets is a given - but it is also utterly thought-provoking beneath its glittery, hedonistic and somewhat debauched surface. I was blown away when I went to Cardiff to see the production ahead of its arrival at Bord Gais Energy Theatre in Dublin, and was still thinking about it several days later.
Bill Kenwright's production is directed by Rufus Norris and choreographed by Javier de Frutos. The musical numbers are excellent, the dance scenes are superb and the storyline runs deep. It demonstrates why Cabaret has won 13 Tony awards, including best musical for the original Broadway production.
Cabaret tells the story of the ill-fated romance between nightclub singer Sally Bowles and bisexual American Cliff Bradshaw, who has arrived in Berlin hoping to find the inspiration to write his novel. In the process, it tackles the serious issues that underpin the political climate of the time in pre-World War II Berlin, when the Nazi regime was beginning to make its presence felt.

Handsome Philadelphian Charles Hagerty brings nuance and depth to the role of Cliff Bradshaw, who finds himself suddenly embroiled in the debauched world of Berlin cabaret, smuggling and politics. The story is told from his perspective, and it's a role that Charles - whose mum is from Derry - relishes. Having lived and acted for 17 years in New York, he moved to the UK last year after he married his British partner.
In Cabaret, the relationship between Cliff and Sally seems to be heading towards marriage and a move to the US, but it ultimately falls apart. Sally having an abortion and Cliff being beaten up are among two of the more dramatic occurrences.

"While it's a big production and has lots of razzmatazz, I wouldn't call it light entertainment," says Charles. "It's got meat to it, and has something to say - it's not just stringing together some great songs. I think it's one of the best musical theatre scripts ever written, and it's a treat as an actor to get to play a role of such substance."

Naturally, all eyes were on Louise Redknapp, 42, formerly of the girl-band Eternal, who stars as Sally Bowles. Her debut musical theatre role has generated a lot of publicity since the tour began in September.

This is principally because it was revealed over the summer that her high-profile marriage of 19 years to footballer Jamie Redknapp was in trouble. Having been out of the limelight for a considerable numbers of years, Louise's performing career was resurrected when she appeared in the 2016 series of Strictly Come Dancing.
Cabaret was first staged on Broadway in 1966, and Liza Minnelli famously played the role of Sally in the 1972 film version. Her stellar performance turned the part into one of the most coveted in musical theatre, and following in her stilettos is a hard task for anyone. While not quite as fearless and ballsy in the role, Louise, who trained at the Italia Conti school, is excellent and strong vocally, and acquits herself with aplomb in her debut musical theatre role.

While the Irish media interviews with Redknapp and Young were cancelled the night before we flew over due to a sudden "scheduling conflict", Louise admitted in UK interviews that she has tried to avoid the film recently, as the stage musical has a different take on Sally Bowles.
For a start, Minelli's Sally was American - while the original book and stage show has Sally as a British woman who has gone to Berlin to be a cabaret star and is headlining at the Kit Kat Klub.

Pop Idol winner Will Young plays the Master of Ceremonies at the club. He was nominated for an Olivier award for his performance in a production in the West End in 2012 and he utterly steals the show on this outing, too.
His persona is delightfully flamboyant and charismatic, yet sinister and menacing. It works brilliantly and provides many of the lighter moments in a musical that is dark and filled with debauchery and pathos.

A special shout-out to Susan Penhaligon playing German boarding-house mistress, Fraulein Schneider, and Linal Haft as Jewish fruit vendor Herr Schultz. Their doomed romance will break your heart and is well played.

This production of Cabaret comes recommended, but prepare to go home dazzled, puzzled and provoked.


The musical Cabaret, written by John Kander and Fred Ebb, first appeared on Broadway in 1966 and sketches the decadent and hedonistic era of Berlin prior to WW2, when the rise of the Third Reich and the nightmare of the concentration camps were becoming an insidious reality.

Caberet is based on the stories of Christopher Isherwood, a young British/American writer who went to Berlin in the Thirties in the hope of gaining inspiration for his book, but found instead a city on the edge of Armageddon and politically heading for Nazism.

The show has been has been popular ever since and is now on the road again with the lead role of the MC at the Kit-Kat Club, unsurprisingly named EmmCee, being played by Will Young. Those of us who remember the magnificent film of Cabaret, when Liza Minnelli gave a once-in-a-lifetime performance as Sally Bowles, will also remember the bizarre and unsettling performance of Joel Grey as EmmCee, with his undercurrent of lurking menace behind a facade of fun.

Will Young is not quite so menacing, but plays EmmCee as a sexual degenerate whose aim is to have as much fun as he can, while he can. His wears the peculiarly child-like, but sinister, Bavarian lederhosen with a confidence that belies the absurdity of the attire.

Young plays EmmCee to the manor born, his hair black, shiny and slicked, thirties style, flat to his head. His mouth is red-lipsticked and wide, he laughs hysterically with a mixture of bravado and chilling fear, and he is quite, quite wonderful. He sings Hitler’s national song for the Hitler Youth, ‘Tomorrow Belongs To Me’, to a collection of youngsters who are tethered to his hands, as he manipulates them by the strings of a puppet master. It is appallingly redolent of the beginning of the Holocaust, and Young’s final, mad crescendo is frighteningly real.

The sleazy clubs of Berlin, and in particular the notorious Kit-Kat Club, are a magnet for the sexually adventurous and the brazenly curious, and amongst the flotsam of lost souls comes Sally Bowles. Sally is played by Louise Redknapp in her first musical after her success in television’s Strictly Come Dancing last year.

She looks appealing and dances well, but her personality is flimsy and her voice is not strong enough for stage musicals. She sings the signature tune of Cabaret, which should be a show-stopper, but she has an odd way of stopping slightly before the word Cabaret, which usually comes at the end of a sentence. The assumption is that she will then belt out the word, but she either speaks it or sings it with no impact. It sounds very strange and slightly annoying.

The Isherwood persona is in the form of Clifford Bradshaw, played by American-born Charles Hagerty, who is a good foil for Sally, although the two never really gel. There is no spark of love, or even comradeship, between them. He does begin to blossom as an individual as his suspicions about Nazism begin to take shape. and he takes a brave stand against it.

There is a gentle autumn love affair between landlady Fraulein Schneider and Herr Schultz, beautifully played by Susan Penhaligon and Linal Haft, and its sudden demise as the Jewish Schultz hits the Nazi radar is heartbreaking. They are believable and funny, and the fact that neither of them can sing, but do, is extremely appealing

The dancers in the Kit-Kat Club, male and female are simply superb. They move with both a feline grace and an awkward, sexually explicit stance of careless boredom. They exude an aura of abandonment of hope and morals which is painful to watch, and their skills as dancers is exquisitely defined.

Cabaret manages to capture the tension of the era with a subtle but raw power that reflects the creeping danger of the political climate of the time. The final scene is horrific and unexpected, and carries a haunting reality and sadness that clings as you leave the theatre.

A good solid show full of surprises, but the night belonged to Will Young. He has journeyed from pop music into the realm of stage performer and emerged triumphant.


The first act is awash with exuberant musical numbers, performed in a classic burlesque style; with the stage glowing in gold and orange lighting, and with an abundance of scantily clad and ridiculously attractive dancers, showing off a plethora of muscular pecs, torsos and biceps. The indulgence and pleasure of the Kit Kat Club then yields in the second act to a darker and more emotional story as the rise of fascism takes hold, impacting on the free-living community of the club.

Will Young excels in his portrayal of Emcee; making his performance seem effortless and natural and injecting the role with just the right balance of humour, ambiguity and campness to be charismatic and alluring. His performance of the shows musical numbers is excellent, especially in opening the show with “Wilkomen” and in a haunting rendition of “I Don’t Care Much”. Louise Redknapp has her moments as Sally Bowles, and to her credit can belt out the show’s tunes, but her acting ability does not shine through and any stage presence that she may have gets lost amongst the charismatic cast; whereas Charles Hagerty provides solid and tuneful support in the role of Clifford Bradshaw

The show is well staged, with a beautiful cast, thoughtful and interesting choreography and an impressive lighting design. The set is relatively stripped back giving the whole production a feel which is not too dissimilar to Kander and Ebb’s other musical, Chicago. It is beautiful to look at and Rufus Norris’ direction keeps the show moving along nicely

The Yorkshire Post
Liz Coggins, 25 October 2017:

Rufus Norris’s production borders on brilliance. He successfully captures the debauchery and hedonistic atmosphere of 30’s Berlin from its sensual perversions and decadence to the dark and brutal undertones of what is to come. Imaginatively designed and lit, the pace and the sheer physical prowess of the cast in climbing moving ladders and staircases, make this a seamless and dynamic production. Will Young, (Emcee) has created a creepy, sinister, stylized character that is menacing, veers towards the dark yet radiates a strange charisma to the audience. Susan Penhaligon (Fraulein Schneider) and Linal Haft (Herr Schultz) are outstanding and so beautifully believable in handling the humour and pathos in the roles. As Sally Bowles, Louise Redknapp has put her own stamp on the role which works well at times. However she has just not enough power in the emotional vocals to make them convincing.

The Huddersfield Daily Examiner
Samantha Gildea, 26th October 2017:
Will Young shines in Cabaret at Leeds Grand Theatre
Stealing every scene he appears in, singer and Strictly star Will Young wins the audience from the off

When it comes to musicals, Cabaret is one of the all-time greats. And judging by the audience of all ages at Leeds Grand Theatre , love for the show has been passed down through the generations.
The swinging live band, the dazzling, risque choreography and memorable lyrics offer layers of storytelling that deal with everything from poverty to power, sex, scandals and subterfuge.
The haze of gin and cigarettes offer refuge from the political reality of 1931 Berlin - but for how long?
Your host through the moral maze of the Kit Kat Club is Emcee, a role in which Will Young truly shines. Stealing every scene he appears in, the singer and Strictly star wins the audience from the off, playing the iconic character with the perfect blend of camp and cunning. I could happily watch him for hours.
Louise Redknapp, another beneficiary of the Strictly training school, grows in confidence as the flighty Sally Bowles throughout the show - while her rendition of Maybe This Time didn’t quite pack the punch I hoped for, the Cabaret finale was a triumph.
Louise Redknapp plays Sally Bowles in Cabaret at Leeds Grand Theatre (Image: Pamela Raith Photography)
But while the former popstar was musically fantastic, she wasn’t quite stroppy enough as the tempestuous cabaret performer for my liking.
Susan Penhaligon and Linal Haft as Fraulein Schneider and Herr Schultz have a genuine chemistry - Haft in particular has a comic timing that lifts every scene the pair feature in. You root for them from the off.
And the wonderful Kit Kat performers writhe and smoulder throughout, bringing the Berlin club to life on stage.
The set for this touring production, directed by Rufus Norris, makes clever use of staircases, moving dressing tables and other props, while placing the band above the stage at the heart of the action.
But for all its glitter and sequins, Cabaret has a dark side - and an ending that takes your breath away.
It’s a truly clever show - and one that stands the test of time.

Leeds City Magazine
Matthew Jameson:

Sit back, relax and get ready to be dazzled and slightly shocked with the
extravagance and sheer delight of this explosive production as Cabaret hits the
Leeds Grand Theatre with a bang! Set in Berlin in the early 1930’s against a backdrop of
free thinking and easy sex soon to be completely repressed by the rise of the Nazi Party. We
meet some interesting and emotional characters consumed by the lifestyle and decadence of
the Kit Kat Club, however immoral, is their only haven. Clifford Bradshaw (Charles Hagerty) just
arrived from America, thrown into this new way of life, questioning his own morals and
sexuality with a shaded past. He encounters Sally Bowles (Louise Redknapp) who’s frank and
direct way of getting what she wants enchants Clifford to the point of self-discovery. We are
guided through the poignant journey by Emcee (Will Young) who perfectly adds sugar, spice
and everything nice to encapsulate us right to the very end, making comment on the change
in society and looming downfall.

Will Young smashes it giving a spectacular performance capturing the light and dark of every
situation within the narrative. The perfect moments of comedy reflected by the perfect
moments of sadness in reflection of the horrible truth closing in.
Louise RedKnapp and Charles
Hagerty convince us of their emotional connection and bring down the house with their
incredible musical performances. The supporting cast also raise the roof with Susan
Penhaligon as Fraulein Schneider and Basienka Blake as Fraulein Kost giving their all and
fighting off one or two naked sailor boys in one way or another. The dancing and musicality of
this production is spellbinding and every member of the cast proves what a smash Cabaret is
and always will be. Get down to the Kit Kat Club or you’ll miss out on this gem of a show"



November 5, 2017
Cabaret – Grand Theatre, Leeds and touring: ***1/2

A recent trend has arisen in musical theatre of casting shows based on star pulling power rather than star quality. This touring production of Kander and Ebb’s Cabaret has quite deliberately cast Louise Redknapp and Will Young in the two leads due to their pulling power, but has this too been at the expense of quality performances? The answer is – well: yes and no.

This touring production is the reimagining of Rufus Norris’s 2006 West End production and is a veritable fetish-fest. The boys and the girls are definitely beautiful and the dancing (particularly of the six stand-out Kit Kat girls) is tantalising, titillating and downright sexy. The synchronicity of the performers to Javier Du Frutos’s choreography is faultless and set against the glitzy starkness (a feature I could have sworn was an oxymoron) of the production manages to keep the show alive.

For those unaware (if any such person exists) the show is based on Christopher Isherwood’s superior short novella ‘Goodbye to Berlin’ and tells the story of aspiring writer Cliff Bradshaw (played well by Charles Hagerty who makes the most of an underwritten role) as he arrives in Berlin, meets sensual showgirl Sally Bowles (Redknapp) and tries to come to terms with the rise of the Nazi Party in 1930s Germany. Interspersed with Cliff’s story Kander and Ebb take us into the world of the Kit Kat Club in a multi-layered narrative led by the other-worldly Emcee (Young).

As Sally Bowles, Louise Redknapp has a powerful set of lungs and dances passably as one of the more – ahem – mature Kit Kat Girls. But there is something missing from her Sally Bowles – that certain je ne sais qua that is needed to play the flighty and flirty character who oozes sex appeal and who mesmerises Cliff and indeed all men who come under her spell. When Redknapp’s Sally declares that she is busy ‘screwing’ somebody, it falls flat and is all rather cringe-worthy, as it is when any ladies of a certain age attempt to act a decade or so younger. For all her high-kicking athleticism in the fishnetted dance numbers, this performance falls short in the sexy-stakes.

By contrast, Will Young as the Emcee (reprising the plaudit-winning performance from the West End a few years back) is made for the role. He lurches from zany, to angry, to loved up, to flirty, to melancholy all at the drop of a hat and each emotion is played with aplomb. This character is a tease and ethereal Master of Ceremonies and when he is on the stage, Young is very definitely in charge.

Set against the rising tide of Nazism, and central to demonstrating how the characters are caught up in the evil engulfing Germany are Susan Penhaligon’s Fraulein Schneider and Linal Haft’s Herr Schultz. Both play the elderly romance, doomed due to Schultz’s Jewish heritage for all the heart-wrenching pathos that it deserves (you can even forgive Haft missing a number of the higher notes in his songs). They bring genuine emotion and warmth to the show and only the hardest of hearts could fail to be moved as the love affair reaches its doomed end.

This is a production that is sexy, fresh and innovative. It highlights the seediness and sensuality of the Berlin underground scene whilst never shying away from the hard-hitting underlying inevitability of Hitler’s rise to power and the fast approaching end of the party. The re-staged ‘Tomorrow Belongs to Me’ number at the end of Act One in which the Emcee as Hitler literally acts a puppet-master to his willing executioners is particularly evocative and the stark ending leaves you feeling appropriately chilled.

A musical that is darker than Kander and Ebb’s other works is given appropriate treatment here. The casting is perhaps slightly to the gimmicky side, but judging by the sell-out shows being reported from the various venues it obviously worked and Young’s performance alone is worth the price of a ticket. A great night out with cracking numbers, a fantastic supporting cast and one hell of a Cabaret.

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3rd November 2017 By Nancy Stevens Leave a Comment
Image of Will Young as the Emcee in Cabaret at MK Theatre, as reviewed by award-winning radio presenter Nancy Stevens.
Will Young as the Emcee in Cabaret. Photograph by JIM MARKS

A warm wilkommen is offered to the guests of the seedy Berlin Kit Kat Club by Emcee, a leather-clad, face-painted Will Young. Debauchery and decadence I expected, but it was much darker than I had anticipated. It was very moving, full of pathos, with moments of humour provided by the utterly brilliant Young who was born to play the role. Every little nuance, facial expression and movement had such significance, it is hard to believe this is the same boy who burst onto our screens on Pop Idol in 2002. Young simply steals the show in every scene.

Kander and Ebb’s Cabaret is not a typical musical, and is adapted from Christopher Isherwood’s 1939 short novel Goodbye to Berlin. Isherwood termed the phrase ‘smoky sexuality’ to describe the heady atmosphere in 1931 as the Nazis rise to power. The club serves as a metaphor for ominous political developments in late Weimar Germany.

The primary focus is on American Writer Cliff Bradshaw, a very handsome Charles Hagerty, who falls for the charms of English cabaret performer, Sally Bowles, in the role that made Liza Minelli a star. Louise Rednapp as Sally is very pretty, possesses a lovely voice and a girl-next-door quality, but perhaps lacks the sassiness I would expect from the character.

A sub-plot involves another doomed romance between German boarding house-owner, Fräulein Schneider – an absolutely wonderful Susan Penhaligon – and her elderly suitor Jewish fruit vendor, Herr Schultz – Linal Haft – who exudes so much warmth and love, you wish he were your grandfather.

As I had no point of reference, and had not even seen the film, I had no expectations or preconceptions. I enjoyed the Fosse-inspired dance routines, (Fosse choreographed the film sequences). There were some rather surprising flashes of nudity, a proliferation of bondage-gear (and that was mainly the men!), coupled with a strong cast that included Jordan Livesey as Victor. Livesey is very watchable (I loved him in La Cage) and an ending that made me gasp.

As someone with Jewish heritage, I find this period in history most disturbing, as I am sure most people do, and I am still in shock and sadness about a time in which those who ‘did nothing’ should be most ashamed. This is not your typical feel-good musical, but it is sometimes good to be pushed out of our theatrical comfort zone, and it is worth going simply to see Will Young’s superb performance.

Cabaret is at Milton Keynes Theatre until 4th November 2017.


The Creagh/Carr Review gives you two for the price of one – the opinions of elderly hackette Bev Creagh and flamboyant newshound Stewart Carr. Here, they share their views on Cabaret playing at Milton Keynes Theatre until Saturday, November 4.

CREAGH SAYS .... Cabaret tells the story of Sally Bowles, the English girl free with her favours who is carving a career in a bisexual Berlin burlesque bar before Hitler begins clamping down on the city’s decadent life style – and its Jewish population. Liza Minnelli made the role her own in the 1972 film version. She’s etched in everyone’s mind as the quintessential Sally – a very hard act to follow. Louise Redknapp – former singer with Eternal – has a lovely voice but she lacks edge and experience. And while her performance is perfectly adequate, it lacks that essential pizzazz. But the rest of the cast is absolutely outstanding. Will Young as the effeminate Emcee with the Charlie Chaplin walk is brilliant, his sense of timing faultless, his voice rich and strong. Susan Penhaligon is equally good as Fraulein Schneider , the elderly boarding house owner trying to turn a blind eye to the naughty goings-on under her roof. She has a soft spot for Herr Schultz (Linal Haft) and their scenes together are both touching and amusing, particularly when he attempts to get down on one knee to propose. Basienka Blake is ravishing as red-headed harlot Fraulein Kost and Charles Hagerty makes a credible Clifford Bradshaw, the American writer who realises what’s happening in Berlin and tries to persuade Sally to go back to Britain with him. The dancers are incredibly sexy in a sadomasochistic sort of way, the perfect backdrop to the dark story unfolding on stage. And the orchestra, playing in a box looking down on the set, makes the production even more engaging. This is entertainment at its best - another triumph for MK Theatre.

CARR SAYS .... Anyone with even a passing knowledge of its source material will know roughly what to expect with this starry-eyed production of Cabaret. But it’s in the little nuances that deviate from the 1972 classic where this show really packs its punch. Cabaret tells the story of Berlin’s licentious nightlife in the 1930s – where the liberal laissez faire is soon to be destroyed by the arrival of the Nazis. Will Young is Emcee, the host of the Cabaret and also its spritual sprite. Looking beyond his singing prowess – which seems only to have grown over the years – Will Young as Emcee is wonderfully funny, frivolous and artlessly camp. He’s the soul of a scene which becomes broken under Nazis brutality. Young upstages Louise Redknapp in her headlining role as Sally Bowles. English to a puritanical tee, it’s hard to envisage Redknapp as the sultry queen of cabaret. Every word seems laboured and she lacks the on-the-spot flair which Liza Minelli famously enfused into the character. Charles Hagerty as her bisexual lover Clifford Bradshaw is on form, blessed with a pitch-perfect musical theatre voice. But the chemistry between him and Redknapp fails to float above the writhing of body-beautiful dancers who surround them. My favourites were Susan Penhaligon and Linal Haft as Fraulein Schneider and Herr Schulz. Their story is among the more poignant sequences of the show. Blunt in areas where the film was more suggestive, Cabaret is both wildly fun and at times, strikingly dark. Undoubtledly one of the highlights of MK Theatre this year. See here for tickets.

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Cabaret Review

Lyric Theatre, The Lowry, Manchester until 11th November 2017. Reviewed by Julie Noller


I’m sad today because I’ve never seen Cabaret, how can this be so? I knew the music, could sing along, I even knew the names of the characters. So when I took my seat in the auditorium, I took in the fact it was packed not a seat left. There was an electric buzz of excitement. I never expected Cabaret to be educational, to bring alive the human suffering from 1930’s Germany. As Europe teetered on the brink of war.

Emcee who was played to perfection by Will Young, opened the show. With his painted face looking almost like a younger brother of Marcel Marceau. Did he represent the consciousness of Berlin, there is fun and laughter to be had at the Kitkat Club. Everybody who is anybody at the time of the Weimar Republic crumbling into the realms of Nazi controlled power, is celebrating New Years Eve 1930 at the KitKat Club, where both Boys and Girls are free to love and play.

Cabaret is deep, decadent, there’s nudity, there’s laughter and giggles as you slip into the comfortable life that’s free and easy, naked people run quite accepted across the stage. It slowly rolls into uneasiness, as the Nazis become braver and start to assert themselves in all aspects of society. It may just leave you shocked with tears of sadness over lost lives and wasted hatred. As Emcee says ‘hatred is exhausting’ , it’s much harder to wear the cloak and pretending to be something than to be young, free and happy. The witch hunt of anything not the ideal is beginning.

The performance is simply delicious, I saw plenty of people purchasing the CD during the interval. Louise Redknapp makes her theatrical debut as Sally Bowles and uses her voice to the max to raise the roof especially during the title track Cabaret, if you weren’t tapping your feet, you weren’t in the room, watching the same show as me. I’m sure it won’t be her last piece of musical theatre.

Although not all musical numbers are pitch perfect songs, they perfectly showcase each characters personality. From Fraulein Schneider (Susan Penhaligon) owner of the boarding house, worried about keeping her reputation and business yet not scared of the struggles of life because as she says ‘I have survived inflation’ . She welcomes Clifford Bradshaw (Charles Haggerty) a young American writer quite possibly based upon the many artists who flocked to Berlin. Kander and Ebb commissioned Joe Masteroff to write Cabaret taking inspiration from American-British writer Christopher Isherwood, series of stories from Berlin. I liked Fraulein Schneider she understood how a room rented for half the asking fee was better than an empty room, she lived alone but not a lonely life, seeing the good in people especially the friendly and generous Herr Schultz his only crime was generosity which stemmed from a deep love of Fraulein Schneider. Hatred came easily to those who were jealous, destroying this elderly couples future happiness. How very sad to see Herr Schultz living his life in hope ‘politicians come and go’ you want to shout out, he needs to save himself, board the train to Paris, get out while he can. But he has that blind faith all humans have of trust, that things will get better.

Fraulein Kost (Basienka Blake) with her life of vice, her brightly coloured hair, perfect make-up. Love of sailors. Is the sign of a society on the brink. I found her rendition of Tomorrow Belongs To Me extremely moving, it fits perfectly in a place where not just Berlin but European society was altering from the time where World War 1 had ended and people were breaking free, to facing the prospect of fear and the dark clouds of hatred amid the climb to 1940’s and World War 2. Herr Ludwig (Nicholas Tizzard) is the one character who crosses the divide, his presence cuts across the decadence and brings the Cabaret train ride into real life territory. He at first comes across as a smuggler, helping a young american and welcoming a stranger, as he becomes braver, showing his affiliation to the Social Nationalists (Nazi) much to the shock of the other characters. You see how much of an impact this has on each of our loved cast, a cancelled engagement, moving accommodation to save the impact on a loved one, selling of all items to return home, a blind eye through the love of fame. Homosexuality is no longer tolerated and attacks are carried out. Where are those missing people?

As Cabaret draws to an end we see Herr Ludwig closing down the KitKat Club, it’s presence will not be tolerated. Our beloved Emcee is alone, no longer the talk of the town, no longer the clown. He is striped bare, the audience no longer shocked at nakedness accepts it. This is different to the Kitkat club where life and clothes are free and easy, boys love boys and girls love girls. We see the cold damp darkness of oppression, I initially giggled and then realisation dawned, this was the basis of concentration camps, this was quite possibly a gas chamber, my hand was clasped to my mouth, my gasp audible as I noticed the audience around me. There is no happy ending, for happy endings are for fairy tales. Cabaret is no fairy tale, it’s a reminder of a time now long gone. Its hard to think of Berlin so free and easy but it genuinely existed and I loved witnessing it’s rise and fall within European society. It’s a solid, genuinely heart warming performance by all the cast. A totally humbling experience for me in the lead up to Remembrance Day, Lest any of us forget the events that befell Europe.

Frankly My Dear UK

Posted in Reviews, Theatre November 8, 2017 by Donna

Photo Credit: Pamela Raith Photography

Elaborate and enthralling, CABARET stands the test of time in Bill Kenwright’s touring production

When it comes to musicals, CABARET is one of the all-time greats. Since its Broadway premiere in 1966 and the famous 1972 film starring Liza Minnelli and Joel Grey, CABARET has won a staggering number of stage and screen awards including 8 Oscars, 7 BAFTAs and 13 Tonys. No surprise then that Bill Kenwright decided to take his hit West End show out on a UK tour.

Set in 1931 Berlin as the Nazis are rising to power, CABARET focuses on the nightlife at the seedy Kit Kat Klub. The story revolves around young American writer Cliff Bradshaw who finds himself dragged into a turbulent whirlwind of cabaret dancers, smuggling and politics, as well as a relationship with 32-year-old English cabaret performer Sally Bowles. The musical features some of the most iconic songs in musical theatre including WILLKOMMEN, MEIN HERR, MONEY MAKES THE WORLD GO ROUND, TWO LADIES, MAYBE THIS TIME and of course, CABARET.

Elaborate, exciting and incredibly enthralling, Bill Kenwright’s touring production of CABARET takes the heart and soul of the original and rises it to a whole new level. From Javier de Frutos’s show-stopping choreography to Katrina Lindsay’s stunning set design, every inch of this seamless and dynamic production directed by Rufus Norris successfully captures the hedonistic atmosphere of 30’s Berlin, from its sensual perversions to its dark and brutal undertones.

Photo Credit: Pamela Raith Photography

Will Young reprises his critically acclaimed performance as host Emcee. From the moment he appears on stage, Young lifts the energy, radiating a strange charisma and creating a new level of depth to the sinister and stylized character. Numbers such as MONEY MAKES THE WORLD GO ROUND and IF YOU COULD SEE HER are performed with depth and spot-on irony, while I DON’T CARE MUCH is hauntingly beautiful.

Former pop star Louise Redknapp equally impresses as Sally Bowles, the role famously played by Liza Minelli in the 1972 film. Sporting a cropped bob and fishnet tights, Redknapp certainly looks the part and proves herself more than capable of handling the show’s bigger moments. The only real disappointment is her vocals are sometimes overpowered by the orchestra, leaving you wanting more, particularly on numbers like MAYBE THIS TIME.

That said, all of the cast are a joy to watch, especially Charles Hagerty as Cliff, Susan Penhaligon as Fraulein Schneider and Linal Haft as Herr Schultz, all of whom come dangerously close to stealing the show at times.

The material also still stands the test of time, and still feels strikingly relevant and powerful. Norris’ chilling and unexpected ending is also incredibly poignant, leaving you with a feeling of deep unease as you exit the theatre. A fabulous revival of an all-time classic.

4 Stars (4 / 5)

Cabaret at The Lowry Manchester Review
Reviewed by Rosemary Knight... 7-11 November 2017

Cabaret, written by John Kander and Fred Ebb, is one of the greatest musicals of all time, so I was delighted to visit The Lowry theatre in Manchester to have the opportunity to watch this critically acclaimed version of the show, directed by Rufus Norris and produced by Bill Kenwright.

The show is set in Berlin in the 1930’s, just as the Nazi party are becoming powerful and most of the activity takes place in the seedy Kit Kat nightclub. Cliff Bradshaw, a young American who aspires to write his first novel, arrives in Berlin on New Year’s Eve and becomes involved the debauched, hedonistic world of cabaret.

Will Young stars as Emcee and right from the very beginning absolutely steals the show in every single scene. He is alternately funny, menacing and innocent and his singing voice is just incredible. The songs performed by him, Wilkommen, Two Ladies, Tomorrow Belongs To Me, If You Could See Her and The Money Song are the highlights of the show.

Ex Eternal singer and Strictly performer Louise Rednapp stars as Sally Bowles. Whilst she is undoubtedly very beautiful with a superb singing voice, I don’t believe she has the earthiness and sex appeal which I would usually attribute to Bowles. Her dancing skills are exceptional however and when she performed Mein Herr she deservedly received rapturous applause from the audience.

Linal Haft as Herr Schultz and Susan Penhaligon as Frauline Schneider are superb in their portrayal of the elderly lovers whose relationship is doomed by the rise of the Nazi party. Charles Hagerty is also excellent as American wannabe novelist Clifford Bradshaw who becomes smitten by Bowles.

The stunning choreography by Javier De Frutos is sensational, with the dancers sexily clad in corsets and suspenders whirling and cartwheeling across the stage.

The final scene is shocking, with the audience leaving the theatre feeling chilled. Despite this dark, poignant ending, I really enjoyed this performance. Will Young is absolutely sensational, and the entire show is a joy to watch.

Rating: 5/5

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Review: Cabaret ****
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CabaretEdinburgh PlayhouseLouise RedknappSusan PenhaligonWill Young

When I was asked to do a review of Cabaret, performing this week at the Edinburgh Playhouse, I have to say I had reservations. I have never watched the famous 1972 film version starring Liza Minelli and I’m in the dark about the story behind the musical, apart from the fact it’s set in Berlin in the early 1930s. When I read that two of the leading cast were Will Young, forever associated with Pop Idol, the talent show which launched his career ten years ago and Louise Redknapp, formerly of girl band Eternal, my anticipation didn’t exactly reach stratospheric levels.

However, when the show ended shortly after 10.00pm on Tuesday’s opening night, my opinion had changed.

The story of a young American, Clifford Bradshaw, played by Charles Hagerty, arriving in Berlin hoping the city will inspire him to write a novel is the premise. However, Clifford finds himself in a surreal world of cabaret acts, black market traders and an ever-darkening political landscape.

Cabaret comes with the inevitable fishnets, suspenders and corsets – and that’s just the ebullient host for the evening Emcee, played quite brilliantly by Will Young! Bold, impish and clearly loving this role, Young gives arguably the performance of his life, even adding the odd ad-lib (when his address to the Edinburgh audience produced a somewhat muted response, he mocked to the front row ‘well three people liked it!’)

Hagerty’s performance as Bradshaw is also impressive, an antidote to Emcee with Clifford clearly alarmed at what was happening in 1930s Berlin as Hitler’s Nazi Party gained more and more influence on Germany’s politics.

The role of Sally Bowles – Bradshaw’s girlfriend – is played by Louise Redknapp. Now you could scarcely call me a fan of Eternal, but I was surprised by her powerful performance at the Playhouse. Those who still remember the film will inevitably compare Redknapp’s role with Liza Minelli, but the former runner-up of BBC Television’s Strictly Come Dancing was impressive throughout.

Those of us who are old enough to remember that classic television drama from the 1970s – A Bouquet of Barbed Wire – will remember Susan Penhaligon’s brilliant performance as Prue. More than 40 years have passed since that memorable series (yes, really) but Penhaligon’s performance as Fraulein Schneider in Cabaret was superb and her relationship with Herr Schultz – played by the wonderful Linal Haft – touched many hearts with the inevitable outcome of a German woman contemplating marriage to a Jew in 1930s Germany.

Without giving too much away, the end of the show will leave you spellbound and is a tribute to the superb performances of a highly talented cast.

My only bone of contention was that, on occasion, I did struggle to hear what Will Young was saying in his mock German accent. However, this might have been something to do with the acoustics of the theatre.

If you’re thinking of how to escape the relentless pre-Christmas tosh on television this week, then what good is sitting alone in your room? Come hear the music play – for life is a cabaret, old chum. Come to the cabaret – at the Edinburgh Playhouse this week until Saturday.

You’ll be glad you did!

Cabaret is at the Edinburgh Playhouse until Saturday 18th November 2017. Tickets here.

Edinburgh Reporter rating: ****

Fife Today
Debbie Clarke, 15th November 2017:

Come hear the music play at the Edinburgh Playhouse this week as the popular West End musical Cabaret takes to the stage.
Rufus Norris’ acclaimed production is in the city for a five-night run as part of its current UK tour. The award winning musical stars Will Young as the eccentric Emcee. International singer/songwriter Will Young reprises his role as the enigmatic Emcee while singer and presenter Louise Redknapp makes her stage debut as Sally Bowles in this multi award-winning production.

The show takes place in 1931 in Weimar Berlin and begins with the stirring Wilkommen when the audience is first introduced to the eccentric Master of Ceremonies, performed superbly by Will Young who previously played the role in 2012. While he has big shoes to fill following in the footsteps of the original Emcee Joel Grey, Will does a fantastic job of making the part his own. He perfectly captures the character’s ambiguity as well as a vulnerability which is masked by Emcee’s cheeky persona and flair for showmanship.

While Louise Redknapp is fantastic in her role as sassy English cabaret singer Sally Bowles. She gave really strong vocal performances particularly in ‘Maybe This Time’ and ‘Cabaret’. Louise Redknapp stars as Sally Bowles As well as the two leads, I also thought Charles Hagerty was impressive as Bowles’ love interest Clifford Bradshow and Susan Penhaligon was excellent as landlady Fraulein Schneider. The secondary love story of Penhaligon’s character and Herr Schultz, played by Linal Haft was very touching, especially the scene when he offered the lady of his affections a pineapple as a special gift! Cabaret features amazing choreography, which is raunchy and dazzling, drawing the audience into the world of the infamous Kit Kat Klub and showing, quite poignantly, how its members were affected by the impending rise of the Nazis. This production certainly captures that sizzling era of decadence and hedonism with an ending that is very powerful. Cabaret is a musical not to be missed.

Southside Advertiser
Tom King, 14th November 2017:
Cabaret starring Will Young and Louise Redknapp is at The Playhouse Theatre Edinburgh this week (until Saturday 18th November) turning time back and re-creating the Kit Kat Club of 1931 Berlin on stage.

Cabaret is one of these productions that has a long history in different media – I Am a Camera (play), Goodbye to Berlin (short novel), stage musical and of course the iconic film from 1972 that brought the talents of writers Kander and Ebb, director Bob Fosse and of course Liza Minnelli as Sally Bowles. It is perhaps a little unfair that to anyone who has seen the film, Liza Minnelli is the benchmark that many will judge any Sally Bowles against. Adding to this problem of course is the fact that this role has over the years been played by some of the great stage performance artists of their time, and to expect Louise Redknapp to compete against this background in her first dramatic role is perhaps expecting a little too much from anyone – particularly in a production where Will Young has had the time to firmly establish his role as Emcee to perfection.
Louise Redknapp is a very good vocalist, but this is Sally Bowles on stage, one of the most iconic roles in musical theatre and there is so much more to this part than just hitting the right notes, there is real dramatic weight to this part and to her songs. Sally Bowles to me always is a bit of a fake as underneath her exterior of “exquisite decadence” there is a very vulnerable woman wanting love and security more than anything else. Sally does not just perform at the Kit Kat Club, she is trapped there by many demons and knows it all too well. There should be a sharp contrast between on stage Sally and the off stage Sally as her relationship with Clifford develops, and that was not there for me in this production. That vulnerability I want to hear in “Maybe This Time” is just not there either. Everything about Sally is in the song “Cabaret” – whatever your troubles in life, put a brave smile on your face and just get on with things, and Louise does a far stronger performance with this number.
For some reason the relationship between American writer Clifford Bradshaw (Charles Hagerty) and Sally Bowles (Louse Redknapp) is just not producing any emotion here for me, and that may be down to some factors outside of their control. The triangle between Clifford, Sally and nightclub performer Bobby also seems very weak here. Instead, the real relationship in this story and the one I remember the strongest when I left the theatre is the one between Fraulein Schneider (Susan Penhaligon) and Herr Schultz (Linal Haft). There are some wonderfully touching and delicate moments in this relationship, and both Susan and Linal have the background of dramatic experience to bring these characters to life. Fraulein Schneider also has some wonderful songs and, unlike Sally Bowles, her way of coping with the “Cabaret” that is life is simply to become very still, become almost invisible and simply survive whatever larger events are happening around her.

This re-imagining of Cabaret works still though on many levels, and part of that is the bold move to create something very different on the Kit Kat Club stage, a wise move too as so many people have the Bob Fosse visuals in their heads still and any attempt to slightly change these would probably have ended badly. Instead, this new vision (which I last saw in 2013) has allowed Will Young to firmly establish himself as the new Emcee here, and he is simply getting better and better at this role. I was not too sure how this production would work on one of the largest stages in the UK as it is best suited for a smaller and more intimate theatre, but it works very well, and a big part of that success is the ability of Will Young to pull an audience right into the stage with him. There is also something unnerving at times to his performance – his closing performance of “Tomorrow Belongs To Me” in Act 1 has chilling overtones to it.

This production of Cabaret is a bit like a story in two very distinct parts, and the music, dance and laughter of Act 1 contrast sharply with the far more dramatic and darker events of Act 2 as the Nazi party start to consolidate their hold on the German political scene. Out of the two, the second half of this show for me is always where the power of this story lies, and nothing in this production is more powerful than the final scene. If you have not seen this production yet I have no intention of giving that final scene away and hope no reviewers do either.
This is not a perfect production of Cabaret, but it is a very good one. Louise Redknapp has the unenviable job of having to learn very swiftly the skill sets required for a dramatic role of this weight on stage and in front of audiences, and with the depth of dramatic talent around her, I have no doubt that this will be a very swift learning curve.

Daily Business Magazine
Pauline Taylor, 15th November 2017:
Young grabs the limelight in dazzling show

In her theatrical debut Louise Redknapp, the former Eternal singer, brings to life Sally Bowles, the fictional burlesque performer who entertained in the sleazy nightclubs of 1930s Berlin.
Redknapp does a decent job of emulating the role made famous in film by Liza Minnelli, but the show stealer of this performance at the Edinburgh Playhouse is the singer Will Young.

Painted in clown face for most of the show, Young is a revelation as Emcee with his range going far beyond his reality pop star status.
Young, who reprises his Olivier Award-nominated role, opens the action by proclaiming “Wilkommen” and it heralds a night of bawdy entertainment typifying the mood of a city on the cusp of Nazism.

Susan Penhaligon with a long pedigree in theatre and television (Upstairs Downstairs, Bouquet of Barbed Wire) plays Fraulein Schneider, the landlady of a louche rooming house with plenty of characters passing through.
The era, in all its depravity, is suitably depicted in the dazzling sets by Katrina Lindsay and choreography from Javier de Frutos.
Mood changes see the backdrop change from the colourful Kit Kat Club with to Fraulein Schneider’s grey and oppressive looking house where she constantly rebukes the ladies for bringing home their “nephews” and “brothers.”
The original songwriting from John Kander and Fred Ebb includes stand-outs Maybe This Time and, of course, Life Is A Cabaret.
Redknapp delivers these with perfect range though the performance would benefit from her growing into the tragedy of the role as the tour progresses.
The overall pervading mood of the action is impending doom as swastikas start to appear just before Hitler takes power in 1933.
As the city shudders no-one is holding their breath and the whole company shows how these free-living Berliners partied until they were powerless against the impending doom.

Young is central to the change of tone as the tragicomic Emcee. This is a very physical performance showing a range of comic buffoonery and clown-like lamentations as the era comes to an end.

The choreography is simply stunning with many set pieces including Emcee as a puppet master while some of the company dance robotically. There’s a lot of symbolism in this production.
Penhaligon and Linal Haft as Herr Schultz bring some serious acting to the stage but Young is not far behind – his performance is outstanding and the whole company should be praised for their dazzling energy.
The poignancy of the finale gives the production a twist that was missing from the movie version.
It’s not hard to see why the hype around this filled almost every seat on opening night. Highly recommended.

This post has been edited by truly talented: Nov 15 2017, 06:14 PM
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post Nov 29 2017, 07:20 PM
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Theatre Review: ‘Cabaret’
Starring Will Young, a lavish production of ‘Cabaret’, the iconic musical about a nightclub singer, doomed love, and the rise of the Nazi party, is in Dublin this week. But does it all add up to a good night out?

For over half a century Kander and Ebb’s Cabaret has existed in some guise or another, be it the hugely successful stage show (which has had more revivals than Cher has had farewell tours) or Bob Fosse’s 1972 Oscar-winning film adaptation. That version has rightly earned its place amongst the annals of queer cinema history, due in part to its progressive views of sexuality and, of course, Liza Minnelli’s career-defining turn as the loveable mess that is Sally Bowles.

The Rufus Norris revival opens with Will Young singing the apropos ‘Willkommen’. At tonight’s performance the Bord Gáis house lights have mistakenly been left on, but the seasoned Young remains unfazed and cleverly incorporates this gaffe into his performance by interacting with the audience. The role of Emcee is a well-worn one for Will. He was nominated for an Olivier Award for his 2013 stint in the role, and given his pop-star credentials, his particular portrayal of Emcee can lean more towards whimsical than menacing at times. That being said, there’s no doubt his performance is the glue that binds this entire production together. You cannot avert your eyes when he is on stage and his voice takes on a new timbre, not heard in his pop offerings.
You May Be Surprised

If you are a fan of the film version as I am, you may be surprised to find that the stage version differs greatly in parts. The iconic Sally Bowles feels almost like a bit part in this version, sidelined to make way for other story arcs. This is not helped by Louise Redknapp’s performance. There’s no doubt that she has the vocal chops for the part but her acting often feels stilted and on occasion her delivery was almost robotic. Sally Bowles impish pixie cut was also usurped for a soccer-mom type hairstyle, which rather detracted from the sex appeal we expect from the part.
In one early scene, Sally tries to seduce the charming writer Clifford Bradshaw. Redknapp succumbs to multiple bouts of coughing during her dialogue, resulting in Sally Bowles sounding less seductress and more serial chain-smoker. In fairness, Redknapp managed to soldier through and perform a song at the end of her scene without any further interruption.
The songs that feature in both the movie and stage production are rambunctious, provocative and are the musical highlights of the show. Some of the lesser-known songs performed by Clifford and Sally’s landlady, Fraulein Schneider, lack the same umph and slow the pace at times.
Cabaret’s staging is incredible and the audience is transported from Fraulein Schneider’s boarding house and the bright lights of the Kit Kat club and back again with seamless precision. The dancers are sizzling hot and fill every inch of the stage with their slick choreography and statuesque physiques.
Catchy Nazi Youth Ditty

While the central theme of the stage and the film version remain the same, the mechanics in which it is conveyed on stage are completely different to the film. In the stage version a love story between Fraulein Schneider and Herr Schultz becomes the catalyst for the burgeoning distrust of Jewish people and the imminent rise of the Nazi party in Germany. It does takes an hour or so into the piece for this plot point to be uncovered, signalled by Young triumphantly singing Kander and Ebb’s catchy Nazi Youth ditty, ‘Tomorrow Belongs to Me’.
Ramped up with Nazi involvement, the second act takes a more definitive shape.
It’s a story that rather depressingly is still as pertinent today as it was when Cabaret was first staged on Broadway in 1966, which may also be part of the reason this production feels so fresh and relevant.
Cabaret is a jewel among Bord Gáis Energy Theatre’s run of top international productions this year and is well worth the price of admission. As Sally Bowles famously bellows in the show’s titular song ‘What good is sitting alone in your room? Come to the Cabaret.’
Cabaret runs at The Bord Gáis Energy Theatre until December 2, tickets here. ... =hootsuite

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post Dec 4 2017, 10:51 PM
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Hard to believe that Cabaret finishes this week, it has gone so fast.

Very pleased to have seen him again reprise his role as Emcee, he’s perfected it and had rave reviews yet again. cheer.gif
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post Dec 5 2017, 02:18 PM
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I had hoped to see it in Brighton this week, but all performances are sold out sad.gif
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post Dec 5 2017, 06:02 PM
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QUOTE(Suedehead2 @ Dec 5 2017, 02:18 PM) *
I had hoped to see it in Brighton this week, but all performances are sold out sad.gif

Yes the Brighton dates sold out quickly as did much of the tour.
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