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Powerful production at the Mayflower
2:39pm Thursday 6th September 2012 in Entertainments
CABARET needs two particularly strong performances to carry it off.
The roles of Sally Bowles and the Emcee are not for the fainthearted, not least because there is no escape from the comparison to Liza Minnelli and Joel Grey.
Rufus Norris’ revival of his multi award-winning 2006 production opened at the Mayflower this week at the start of a four-week tour before heading to the West End.
In the role of Sally Bowles is former EastEnders actress Michelle Ryan, while pop star Will Young plays Emcee.
Ryan has a strong singing voice and puts in a good performance, but doesn’t quite have the presence to make it brilliant. Will Young is a revelation, taking ownership of the stage from the moment the opening spotlight falls on him. You could almost hear the audience smile each time he appeared.
Stage stalwarts Sian Phillips and Linal Haft and Harriet Thorpe provide excellent support.
And Matt Rawle as Cliff Bradshaw deftly portrays the bright-eyed, eager American’s growing realisation of the horrors hiding just behind the scenery of Berlin’s 1931 Kit Kat Kabaret.
Along with Bradshaw, the audience is pulled into the desperate decadence of a city already on its knees and a people clinging to the hope that it could not get worse.
A powerful production.