‘There was a Cabaret and there was a Master of Ceremonies and there was a city called Berlin in a country called Germany and it was the end of the world…’ Cabaret, the ground breaking musical, based on Christopher Usherwood’s The Berlin Stories.
Set in the 1930’s in Berlin during the rise of Nazism, Cabaret is enjoying another revival. Currently running on Broadway in New York and now in The Mac in Belfast thanks to the Bruiser Theatre Company.
At the Mac, you arrive and begin to be immersed into the Cabaret world with photo opportunities, and props placed around the foyer and restaurant. There is even a 1930’s telephone dating option on the Canteen at The Mac tables.
Into the theatre and you’re taken into a re-creation of the Kit Kat Klub.
We watched from the balcony seats above the theatre, taking in the inspired setup in the Mac, with the regular seating replaced by tables and chairs and staff in costume.
Before the show begins, the band sit provocatively above the stage, complete with fishnets and leather and then Emcee (Patrick J O’Reilly) kicks off a night of musical theatre in a trench coat before revealing a rather racy outfit.
Menacing and provocative, Emcee holds the show together and Patrick keeps us entertained throughout the two and a half hour performance, right up until his final shocking reveal.
Kerri Quinn is playful and fun in the role of Sally Bowles adding into the mix a bit of sassiness along with fantastic vocals as she charmed us with Don’t Tell Mama and Perfectly Marvellous, and of course the musical theatre classic, Cabaret. If you’ve never seen the Cabaret musical or the movie before, you’ll definitely recognise some of the iconic songs including Money Makes The World Go Round, Maybe This Time and of course Cabaret.
Katie Tumelty as Fraulein Schneider once again plays the perfectly cast older lady who falls in love Herr Shultz (Karl O’Neill) in a relationship that is never going to work with the rise of Nazism.
I was never really a fan of the movie, and as a result wasn’t sure what to expect from the production at the Mac, but the whole atmosphere and ambiance created an air of excitement, of knowing I was going to see something very different from the norm. There were audience members dressed in period outfits, there were tables placed right up to the front of the stage and around the sides, totally integrating the audience into the Kit Kat Klub experience. The cast interacted with the audience (but not enough to scare anybody) as the Kit Kat Klub came back to life in Belfast.
There was something about the ending that didn’t feel quite as shocking as it could’ve been, but nonetheless, Emcee’s final reveal would make anyone question how something so decadent and debauched as 1930’s Berlin, could end up so tragic.
Cabaret is certainly a memorable production, so get on the phone to the Mac, book your tickets and enjoy musical theatre like you’ve never seen it before in Belfast.
By Jeff Meredith
Cabaret runs in the Mac until the 4th October 2014.
Have you read my interview with Kerri? Here it is again!
Cabaret fact: Dame Judi Dench played Sally Bowles in the original West End production of Cabaret