Cabaret, Trinity Laban Musical Theatre

This winter showcase production for Trinity Laban’s Musical Theatre students 2018/19  proves that the future of British Musical Theatre and Beyond is in a good place.

Cabaret is an odd beast of a musical, adapted from the play John Van Druten’s I am Camera (1951), which in turn was adapted from Christopher Isherwood’s short story Goodbye to Berlin (1939) it seems like play celebrating the Weimar Republic (a period of time portrayed in Barry Humphries Weimar Cabaret) but becomes a warning from history as the Nazi’s rise to power and Berlin’s citizens are forced to reconsider their lifestyles and their future.

On stage at the Kit Kat Club Emcee (Jake Lomas) welcomes the audience (“Willkommen“). On New Year’s Eve American Cliff Bradshaw (Michael McGeough) has been travelling around Europe desperately trying to finish a book when he meets Erst Ludwig, a German who offers the newcomer work and somewhere to stay. This chance encounter leads Bradshaw through the last days of the Weimar, meeting a young English dancer Sally Bowles (Amy Blanchard) whose temperamental relationship with Kit Kat Klub owner Max leads to her developing a romantic relationship. Whilst in the boarding house Fraulein Schneider (Hannah Qureshi who embodies the older and lonely woman beautifully) is forced to consider her future with a Jewish Shopkeeper Herr Schultz (Calum Rickman)who she loves but cannot ignore the changing attitudes in Germany.

Cabaret-110 Cast.jpg

This production from Trinity Laban is engaging, with a charismatic Lomas as the Emcee linking this difficult book. There is a lot to be said about Germany’s political and social situation; everyone seems to be struggling financially or emotionally. Amy Blanchard as Sally gives a good party girl but as the party comes to an end Sally is left considering her options as Cliff begs her to settle down and live a life that she is not ready for.  Choreographer Graham Newell’s routines give this student production more gravitas than expected with dance routines, assisted by the live orchestra. The music and lyrics are strong in this show and the cast was more than up to vocally. I do think some cuts could have been made (the show was nearly three hours long including interval) and not all the dance routines were necessary but the emotional impact of Tomorrow Belongs to Me and whilst this production avoids the links to concentration camps it keeps the sense of dread about these characters’ futures as they continued to enjoy the good times that would seemingly never end.

I admired that the costumes not only felt of their time historically but also revealing enough to suggest a lot more than dancing went on a Kit Kat Klub, it is a fun production that was acted and sung brilliantly across the cast, who not only have to compete with stage comparisons but also the well-known film adaptation. I look forward to seeing the cast as they continue their training but in their first professional roles.

The production finished on 8 December 2018. The student’s profiles can be found here 

Creative Team

Director  Karen Rabinowitz

Musical Director  Mark Smith

Choreographer Graham Newell

Set & Costume Designer Louis Carver

Costume Supervisor Sabia Smith

Lighting Designer Jake Wiltshire

Sound Designer Chris Tanton

Stage Manager Janet-Mary Provan

Deputy Stage Manager Anna Zentala

Vocal Captain Tabitha Halkes

Dance Captains Rebecca d’Lacey, Brendan Mageean, Nichol Renton-Charmin

Band

Musical Director / Piano Mark Smith

Keyboard  Tom Knowles

Alto Sax and Clarinet Layla Allen

Tenor Sax and Clarinet Ellie Marsh

Trumpet Sara Ruiz Fernandez

Trombone Siddharta Lethbridge

Guitar and Banjo Jack Pennifold

Double Bass Darren McCarthy

Percussion Rory Clark

Cast

Emcee Jake Lomas

Cliff Michael McGeough

Fraulein Schneider Hannah Qureshi

Herr Schultz Calum Rickman

Fraulein Kost Francesca Mae Smith

Sally Bowles Amy Blanchard

Ernst Ludwig Bobby Harding

Telephone Girl Amy Louise Lonergan

Customs Officer 1 / Max Barney Fritz

Two Ladies Rebecca d’Lacey & Kate Claussen

Maitre D’ Harry Newton

Kissing Couple Eleanor Turner & Calum Rickman

3 German Soldiers Thomas Wareham, George Fairclough, Brendan Mageean

Kit Kat Klub Girls Emily Harper, Rebecca d’Lacey, Amy Louise Lonergan, Florence Russell, Eleanor Turner & Alessia Watson

Kit Kat Klub Boys Thomas Wareham, George Fairclough, Brendan Mageean & Harry Newton

Bobby George Fairclough

Assistant Customs Officer Brendan Mageean

Taxi Man Jake Lomas

Gorilla Harry Newton

2 Nazi Guards Thomas Wareham & Brendan Mageean

Stage Band Kate Claussen, Poppy Louise Cooper, Tabitha Halkes, Nichol Renton-Charmin & Florence Russell

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