Kander and Ebb’s classic 1966 musical Cabaret was last seen in the UK in 2017 and has this year embarked on a UK tour, opening at Bromley Churchill Theatre last week and plays at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre this week. It is easy to fail when mixing either tragedy or politics with theatre, particularly musicals, but this production succeeds.
Touring and indeed West End productions of Cabaret have previously cast well known performers in the role of Sally Bowles, with Louise Redknapp and Michelle Ryan having previously tried their hand. Kara Lily Hayworth may not be well known yet, but it is surely inevitable. Her portrayal is epitomised by her thoughtful, hard hitting but never over sung performances of well known ’Maybe This Time’ and ‘Cabaret’. She is a beautiful actress and is a joy to watch throughout.
John Partridge brings more to the role of the Emcee than his star status might initially suggest. While his performance could be seen as reminiscent of pantomime in the opening scenes, he is incredibly talented; his vocal performance assisting the Emcee to become increasingly entwined with the story as the show goes on. Charles Hagerty is also impressive; with previous credits in the West End and on Broadway he tells the multifaceted story of the sometimes charming but mostly troubled Cliff Bradshaw with ease.
Kander and Ebb’s music is a natural backdrop to beautiful choreography, and this production capitalises on that. The ensemble are strong and facilitate the storytelling with ease.
This production does a fantastic job of making often covert political messages, clear. It ends powerfully but not brutally – leaving the audience moved, but having still had a good night out at the theatre.
This image features previous cast members.