Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Did London Critics Care Much For Cabaret Revival?

Did London Critics Care Much For Cabaret Revival?

Last evening, yet another West End revival of Cabaret opened in London. As noted yesterday, the relatively recent memory of a greatly revered Sam Mendes revival of the John Kander/Fred Ebb classic must have loomed large over Rufus Norris' effort. But the critics were fairly enthusiastic about this latest version.

Paul Taylor of The Independent is clearly a fan: "Rufus Norris's production of the Kander/Ebb classic is the most stunningly fresh and imaginative revival of a classic musical that I have ever seen.
Genius has gone into the radical re-thinking of this piece by the director, by the choreographer, Javier de Frutos, and by the designer, Katrina Lindsay....The casting is peerless. Anna Maxwell Martin is the best and most crashingly accurate Sally Bowles to date."

In awarding four out of five stars, The Guardian's Michael Billington notes, "Occasionally, I felt the production missed a trick....But the second half leaves you in no doubt about the musical's political implications....As Sheila Hancock's excellent Fraulein Schneider rejects her Jewish-grocer fiance, a soldier ominously passes by....Forty years after its premiere, Cabaret increasingly looks like one of the defining musicals of the postwar era."

Nicholas de Jongh of the Evening Standard also gives Cabaret four stars, sums up his review by praising, "Cabaret, showing itself at the last a great musical, timelessly appeals for humanity in the sight of political and sexual fascism. I find it overwhelming."

Less impressed was Benedict Nightingale of The Times, whose three-out-of-five star review marked his disappointment: "Look for an abundance of suspenders, leather harness over bare torsos, and dance that includes writhing, spanking, bum-waving and explicit sex on explicit beds. But this mostly seems jaunty or merely acrobatic or over-deliberate in its attempt to signal that Berlin is a sleazy town. Often I felt that there was more sax than sex."

It should be noted that not everyone agreed with Paul Taylor's assessment of the musical's leading lady. But by primarily receiving good notices, will this Cabaret set its sights on Broadway next?

This is Steve On Broadway (SOB).

Click here for tickets.
Related Stories:
Cabaret Opens Its West End Doors This Evening (October 10, 2006)
Cabaret's Conservative Casting Choices (August 18, 2006)
Another Cabaret? It Couldn't Please Me More (July 5, 2006)

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