Will Young triumphs in Cabaret

 

The Kit Kat kid

10 years on from his win on Pop Idol, Will Young has emerged as a credible music artist, actor and now musical theatre star as he tours in the smash hit West End revival of Cabaret. I went to see it at the Bristol Hippodrome. This is a first class production. It’s quite easy to tell this as I saw a not so good version not so many years ago. It starred Alan Cummings who is a very good high profile actor who played the Emcee with extra-suggestive high campness and leered a lot but who unfortunately couldn’t really sing. And Cabaret is a musical after all. Will Young however, can definitely sing and his sweet voice creates an interesting contrast with the knowing lyrics of the songs.

Welcome to the Hippodrome!!!

Set in 1931  Berlin as the Nazis are rising to power, it is based in nightlife at the seedy Kit Kat Klub, and revolves around the 19-year-old English Cabaret performer Sally Bowles and her relationship with the young American writer Cliff Bradshaw. Anything goes at the Kit Kat with hedonism and sexual experimentation the norm as illustrated by the ‘two ladies’ song which features multiple partners in one bed and even a giraffe pops up at one point. Overseeing the action is the Master of Ceremonies at the Kit Kat Club, enter Will Young, in some very tight leather, thigh displaying lederhosen.

Guaranteed good night out

The scenes in the club act as a kind of metaphor for the threatening state of Germany poised on the brink of the Nazis rise to power. It’s a live for today time, before the horrors of the second World War that was to come. Siobhan William plays Sally. She’s very pretty and can sing and dance extremely well. She did come third in the TV show, ‘How do you solve a problem called Maria’ and I remembered her from that competition where the contestants are put through gruelling weeks of performances and criticism from the ‘Lord’ Weber. It’s fantastic preparation for starring on stage in a big musical, which requires the stamina of a migrating Wildebeest. My only slight criticism is that she was perhaps a little bit too Maria, and her kind of  ‘Daisy- Pulls- It -Off’ demeanour, would have been brilliant for Sandy in Grease (which she has also played) but was a little less believable in the sleazy sexual melting pot of the Kit Kat club.

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Siobhan as sexy Sally..

The choreography is outstanding, muscular and quite gymnastic at times featuring quite a lot of shenanigans on and off a ladder. Javier De Frutos the choreographer was born in Venezuela in 1963 where he began his dance training. The dancers were outstanding and did you proud Javier. The move from the sensual lap dancing style of the Kit Kat club to the angular goose stepping of the Nazi regime was clever and effective.
A sub-plot involves the doomed romance between German boarding house owner Fräulein Schneider and her elderly suitor Herr Schultz, a Jewish fruit vendor. There’s a whole song about a pineapple. Don’t they know they’re only £1 in Morrisons? And Fraulein Schneider turns out to be Lyn Paul from the New Seekers! They had a massive hit with ‘I’d like to teach the world to sing’ which was ‘adapted’ or pinched which ever way you’d like to see it, from a Coca Cola advert in the 70’s and sold over 20 million copies. It still remains one of the 100 best-selling singles in the UK apparently.

Money makes the world go around

The stage design is simple but visually arresting with lots of light bulbs and the pace was cracking with no time to get bored and start rustling for your chocolate eclairs.
Will Young has done very well indeed and he deserves his success. By contrast the runner up in Pop Idol Gareth Gates is also still on the musical circuit but he’s not in the Premier division with Will. More sort of Bolton Wanderers to Will’s Arsenal..He’s been starring in Boogie Nights an interesting production written by Shane Ritchie and starring his son Shane Ritchie Junior..
Cabaret is still touring the country and I would highly recommend you dig your suspenders out and go and see it – mesdames and messieurs, dames en heren, ladies and gentlemen!