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  1. #1

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    New London Production of 'Cabaret'

    I'm planning on seeing the new(ish) London production of Cabaret by Rufus Norris and I was wondering what people who had seen it thought. I'll probably end up going anyway since I want to have Cabaret's babies but I've heard it was phenomenal and that it was crap.

  2. #2

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    Re: New London Production of 'Cabaret'

    I've heard nothing at all about it (which is probably bad news for the show!) but I would recommend getting the soundtrack which should give you some indication of the production standards.
    I do see that it is produced by Kenright who is famously tight when it comes to financing a show (more bad news!).
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  3. #3

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    Re: New London Production of 'Cabaret'

    But also he's famous....that's a good thing... I've investigated it loads I just don't know anyone that's seen it

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    Re: New London Production of 'Cabaret'

    From musicOMH.com...

    Cabaret Lyric Theatre, London, 23 September - 7 April 2006


    cast list

    Anna Maxwell Martin
    James Dreyfus
    Michael Hayden
    Sheila Hancock
    Geoffrey Hutchings

    directed by
    Rufus Norris


    It may be 13 years since the Donmar Warehouse staged their smash-hit production of Kander and Ebb's Cabaret but theatre-goers have long memories, and Rufus Norris' new version at the Lyric Theatre, for all its attempts to do something innovative with the material, just isn't in the same league. Saddled also with the legacy of a film version that featured a career-best performance by Liza Minelli, this Cabaret stars Michael Hayden as Clifford, a struggling novelist who comes to Berlin in 1930 to write his 'great' novel and instead becomes embroiled in a decadent and politically turbulent world. At the Kit Kat Klub, he meets - and falls for - Sally Bowles, here played by an uncomfortable looking Anna Maxwell Martin.
    This is a production with a lot of problems. James Dreyfus is miscast as the MC. He plays him as a big, brutish, repellant man but never allows the audience to get any real sense of him beyond that - he is never really a narrator an audience can side with. This really becomes a hindrance in the later stages of the show when the play demands that you care about his fate.
    Anna Maxwell Martin has a nice enough voice, and can be funny and moving, as a woman trying to desperately hide her fragility. She manages to express something of Sally's emotions through her songs, especially Maybe This Time and Cabaret, but again you never get any sense of why she does what she does. Even worse - as I've mentioned - on the night I attended she often looked deeply uncomfortable in the role. As for Michael Hayden, while he has a lovely voice, and enough charm to convince as the naive writer, ultimately you don't believe there is any real passion between these two.
    Other aspects of the production are more successful. The growing relationship between Fraulein Schneider and Herr Schultz (Geoffrey Hutchings) is beautifully portrayed. They're both engaging performers and as a result you worry about what will happen to their characters. Sheila Hancock, in particular, is wonderful as a woman who has learnt to settle for her lot in life, both funny and tragic.
    The overriding problem however, is that Norris' Cabaret is never quite shocking, entertaining, dramatic or clever enough. The choreography, by Javier de Frutos, is far too tic-driven. In isolation some of his work has the potential to be quite beautiful and powerful, exploring through movement the near madness that these 'bright young things' drive themselves to in pursuit of pleasure. However, as part of an already very busy musical it simply acts as a distraction from the story. This is not helped by Katrina Lindsay's set, stuffed full of moving walls, beds and ladders - another distraction from the action.
    It is not without its successful elements. Nudity, for example, is used as a tool to depict the Nazi ideals of health and beauty, and also the full horrors of the 'final solution'. But while it's nice to see a British production attempting to compete with this autumn's barrage of Broadway imports, ultimately Cabaret is just not up to the job.
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  5. #5

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    Re: New London Production of 'Cabaret'

    Nathan Detroit, you are astonishing. Thank you so much for this thoughtfulness in MiceChat's cutthroat community

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    Re: New London Production of 'Cabaret'

    Quote Originally Posted by fizzog View Post
    I'll probably end up going anyway since I want to have Cabaret's babies
    That's awesome!

    If you love the show, then take the chance. Every now and then we get tickets to shows I'm unsure about, but I figure it gives me a chance to get dressed up and go out to dinner, so that's good enough for me.
    A signature should go here.

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    Re: New London Production of 'Cabaret'

    Well exactly, if I only ever stay safe and go to see Phantom of the Opera I'll never get anywhere! I just rarely get down to London and never like to take the risk but since I love Cabaret so much it's somewhat different

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    Re: New London Production of 'Cabaret'

    Take the risk! I have done just that when visiting London in the past and ended up seeing the fantastic Witches of Eastwick (oh, how I lament it's short lifespan!).
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  9. #9

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    Re: New London Production of 'Cabaret'

    Yeah, shows don't stick around. I'm ETERNALLY glad I caught Evita two weeks before it closed, it was one of the best shows I've ever seen. On the topic, My Fair Lady is the best show I've ever seen, it was simply perfect, but it's not my favourite by any stretch. That would go to... Phantom of the Opera/Les Mis/Miss Saigon/Cabaret and probably several others I've forgotten. I certainly like what I see on YouTube however unclear it is, it seems to be very stripped down and dingy, but more than anything it looks really different to any other production which I think is great (though we all wanted Mendes/Marshall in London)

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    Re: New London Production of 'Cabaret'

    Are you talking about the recent Trevor Nunn revival of My Fair Lady? I saw that and loved it. I am much more a fan of the 'classic' musicals than the 'modern' ones although I did enjoy Phantom, Les Miz, Siagon and the others of their ilk. I do prefer the likes of Cabaret, MFL, Guys and Dolls (saw a great revival at the National about 12years ago) and Anything Goes (saw the wonderful John Barrowman in that!). I am so pleased to see the recent re-birth of musical comedy with the likes of The Producers, Spamalot (one I haven't seen yet) and the aforementioned Witches of Eastwick (I recommend the OCR to anyone).
    I have only seen Cabaret on stage once and it was an amateur production. I was however one of the best amateur show I have ever seen (and I see a lot of amateur shows!). That production was pretty stripped down which is how I think Cabaret should be.
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  11. #11

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    Re: New London Production of 'Cabaret'

    The Cameron Mackintosh one, I believe it was Trevor Nunn, simply theatrical perfection. I saw the recent Guys and Dolls revival (wonder if you have) on tour and felt it lacked pace and energy, though the Havana sequence was astonishing and exciting, it just didn't stay that way which was the problem. I'm a fan of a huge spectrum of shows I think, loving Cabaret, Chicago, Gypsy, Phantom, Les Mis, The Producers, My Fair Lady, to be honest I don't like a particular period, I just like em. Spamalot was great fun, not as funny as the producers due to a not-as-funny second act but still gret.

    p.s. I hate John Barrowman, but there ya go

  12. #12

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    Re: New London Production of 'Cabaret'

    I didn't bother with the recent revival of G&D simply because I didn't fancy it. It is one of my favourite musicals (as proven by my 'name') and it spent 3 weeks literally at the bottom of my street (we are very fortunate to live a stone's throw away from a major tour-venue theatre).
    Like you, I like all types of show but tend to favour 'musical comedy'. My more obscure loves include The Music Man, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and A Funny Thing happened on the Way to the Forum.
    As for Cabaret, have you heard about Kander and Ebb's final show? Curtains - another OCR that I heartily recommend.
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  13. #13

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    Re: New London Production of 'Cabaret'

    Funny Thing Happened and How to Succed aren't totally obscure! Whenever I see musical comedy I love it but I can't shake the feeling I just forked out alotta money for something with no real depth or substance whereas see Les Mis and there's almost too much!

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    Re: New London Production of 'Cabaret'

    Funny Thing Happened is not in the least obscure! My god, Zero Mostel!

    The Music Man, obscure? Wha???

    Unusually and exceedingly peculiar and altogether quite impossible to describe...



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    Re: New London Production of 'Cabaret'

    Quote Originally Posted by Morrigoon View Post
    Funny Thing Happened is not in the least obscure! My god, Zero Mostel!

    The Music Man, obscure? Wha???
    Fizzog and I are both in England. The Music Man is hardly heard of over here. Probabaly because it is quintessentially American. However, I love it and will be playing the part of Prof. Harold Hill in two weeks time!
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