Created in 2014, Carpe Diem Emmie is a Midlands based Lifestyle, Theatre and Travel blog. Ran by Emmie, a 28 year old woman based in rural Leicestershire.

In the day Emmie works in a primary school where she is passionate about inclusion and mental health. In the evening she escapes to the cultural world.

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REVIEW | Cabaret, UK Tour

Curve Theatre, Leicester 

CABARET made quite the impact when I saw the Bill Kenwright ltd production in Leicester this Autumn. The musical is an adaptation of John Van Druten's 1951 play, I Am A Camera which is based on Christopher Isherwood's Berlin Stories. It opened on Broadway on 20 November 1966 and ran for 1165 performances at three different venues, including the Broadhurst Theatre. Although it is probably most known for the popular film adaptation that starred Liza Minnelli, Michael York and Joel Grey. What's more, it came with influential choreography from dance legend Bob Fosse.

Bill Kenwright ltd productions have created something striking and unforgettable with this new tour that left me stunned.

For those unaware of the story, Cabaret takes place in Berlin in 193l during Hitler's rise to power. At the centre is the KitKat club, popular with Berlin's men and a place which opens its door on troubling times, including the rise of the Nazi party. The musical's two main characters; Sally Bowles and Brian Roberts are Americans who travelled to Berlin with separate agendas. Sally has high hopes and desires in achieving her dreams of becoming a movie star and performs each night in the Kit Kat Club. Meanwhile, Brian is hunting for German soldiers who he can teach English to so he can pay his rent.

Cabaret is more than 50 years old but deals with some of the most extreme political themes known in history; antisemitism, far-right politics, sexuality and how drastically political landscapes can change in such a short amount of time. Most of these themes are delivered in a song and dance number which is one of the striking elements about this musical that always sticks with you.

Taking the reigns for this production is the Emcee (John Partridge) who brings very dry and dark humour to the storyline. Partridge has used his extensive experience in theatre over the years to craft an unforgettable perception of Emcee. He delivers a fantastic mix of wit and enthusiasm with a powerful demeanour on top. The audience was always on the edge of their seats to see what he did next. Partridge really knew how to move through the more eccentric to the rawest, most vulnerable parts of Emcee's character and it was mesmerising to witness.
The inspiring novelist, Cliff (Charles Hagerty) brings a calm demeanour to proceedings but has his own subplot that links well with the shift of society going on around him. He meets Sally Bowles (Kara Lily Hayworth) and a relationship ensues after she pursues him longingly, although it's not probably got a lot of heart in it.  Kara Lily Hayworth is incredible as Sally Bowles and definitely brings a lot of heart into the role - from the happy go lucky girl to the hidden depths of vulnerability. She delivered an unforgettable performance as Cilla in the Cilla the Musical last year for me so it was great to see her take on a new character and nail it. Hayworth's memorable rendition of Maybe This Time will stick with you way past the finale. 

As the show develops, the impending political situation in Germany is highlighted in various ways, including cracks appearing in relationships. Emcee (John Partridge) is quick to antagonise his compatriots and mimic their attitudes and beliefs and with a musical full to the brim with so much going on, there's also an underlying reminder that you shouldn't judge a person by what they are, but who they are.

The set design is expertly crafted too! The original set designer Boris Aronson helped to create a world in limbo; a vague and seedy club environment merged with detailed domestic settings in prewar Berlin. None of this has been lost in this new production and Katrina Lindsay has done an amazing job in ensuring this environment is created. 

I could definitely see some essence of Bob Fosse choreography within this production but Javier De Frutos has also incorporated some modern, more fiesty movements that definitely integrate well for the numbers. My favourites were definitely Mein Herr and The Money Song technically. 

Cabaret is one of the most politically powerful productions I have seen. It was daring, dazzling and it stunned me in so many different ways. 

Cabaret is on Tour across the UK and Ireland into 2020! Find out more here.



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