Friday, December 14, 2012

I've loved Will Young for ten years now. Longer than many of my real life relationships. I've watched him belt out whatever the not quite triumphal song in Pop Idol was. The one that wasn't Evergreen but was just as unmemorable. I've watched him in concert. We got shouted down for standing up and dancing at the SECC. I watched him in The Vortex at the Manchester Royal Exchange theatre and I don't care what the Telegraph think - I thought he did beautifully in that too.

But Emcee in Cabaret is surely the role or maybe just one of the roles that he was born to play. What a delightful saucy slightly sordid bounce and verve he brought to it. Lovely accents. Lovely lovely songs. A polished quite delicious performance.

It's a shame the same can't be said for the rest of them.

To be fair, it looked great. Rufus Norris did a very nice job with the direction, slamming the point home that little good could come of this regime so emphatically in the final moments that there was a satisfyingly appalled pause before a few brave souls ventured to clap.

Some really neatly strident choreography too. And a versatile little set that made the best use it could of that godforesaken stage at the Savoy. I surmise from the two shows I've now seen there that they don't have much wing space.

Poor old Sally Bowles was some degree of a last minute substitute as making her West End debut Michelle Ryan was indisposed. The substitute's performance is more forgiveable if she was a) not given very much notice or b) told by the director to bring out the sweet and vulnerable side of the character. For she did this in spades. Trouble is (well, real trouble is Sally is and should only ever be Liza Minnelli) Sally should be wayward, wicked, lascivious, luscious, sultry, sordid, drunk, disorderly, slightly repellant but for all that, very much in need of looking after. This Sally liked gin and needed looking after on account of her bad hangovers and an inability to carry money.

Sian Phillips was the landlady in love with a shopkeeper who also happens to be a Jew. She acted very nicely. Her singing voice. Well, maybe the director told her to do it like that.

As ever, (sorry, as often happens) the rest of the cast were the ones who could really sing and dance and they did so with a lot of violent leg splaying that served as pretty effective shorthand for an early 1930s dissolute Berlin. We might have had more drink and drugs. There was certainly a lot of suggested lewdness. And the band were lovely stars. A fabulous sax that B S would have envied. A clarinet that I swoopingly envied. And a nice slightly funked up version of the Ebb and Kander score.

I'd have seen a much worse show for the love of Will. As it was, I saw a show that was pretty healthily respectable in patches. Could do better in patches. But I'll fogive it all for Will / Emcee as Border Control guard peeking his head through the O of Willkommen to welcome (in German) the visitors to Berlin. Great fun.


Post a Comment

<< Home