Review: Cabaret by RHUL MTS

By Suzannah Ball

Cabaret was a night to remember for all the wrong reasons. I must admit I had very high hopes for this performance, having been wowed by the 2012 musical starring Will Young. But, while the play itself and the cast created an enjoyable and fun atmosphere, it lacked the professionalism I craved.

The singing was spectacular. The female lead, second year Drama and Music student Jenny Collins, is the President of SAVOY and has a voice of operatic proportions. The male lead, George Lambourne, was also brilliant, although they didn’t use him to their best advantage – he only had one solo singing part. Instead, the mediocre ensemble hogged the stage.

It wasn’t the musicality which I found displeasing. In fact, the Orchestra, minus a few blips from the violin, was very impressive. It was the operations behind the performance that failed to amaze. The scanty costumes, although hilarious for the boys, were unprofessional and tacky when it came to the girls. Their outfits comprised of unflattering and cheap lingerie with struggling black bras underneath. While they must have been attempting to protect the actor’s decorum they instead succeeded in completing a shoddy outfit. The beauty and grime which works hand in hand with the prostitutes of Cabaret was distinctly missing. The leads’ outfits fared no better. A show which thrives and focuses on raw sexuality completely lacked any exposure. Of course, it is a university performance and there has to be some modesty. That being said, I felt they could have adapted the less-is-more approach: reveal less and reap the reward.

The play contained one scene of pure adulterated hilarity. A brilliant threesome of one girl and two boys, one wearing women’s clothing, dazzled and shocked the stage. Their number was funny and well executed – the one piece which truly succeeded in meeting the expectations of a Cabaret.

Behind the scenes, the audience witnessed Lambourne expressing the bisexuality of Cliff Bradshaw in a raunchy and unexpected encounter. Yet, after this took place, all the truth surrounding Berlin’s underground sex scene was lost. Instead, we were left with a half-hearted approach to an unwanted pregnancy. Despite a poetic end scene execution in which the theatre was silent as Emcee, played by the hilarious and dazzling Tom Holmes, was stripped of his clothes and cornered by Nazis, there seemed much left to be imagined. While the main cast shone, I was left underwhelmed by the production as a whole.

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