Last night (16/11) I had the privilege of going to see cabaret at London’s Playhouse Theatre, and it was phenomenal. So good that I may have (/definitely have) found myself a new obsession; Sally Bowles (or, perhaps more accurately, Rebecca Lucy Taylor, aka Self Esteem, as Sally Bowles- her voice is everything).
Set in the Kit Kat Club, a famous nightclub in Berlin, from the moment you enter the building you really do feel as though you’re in Berlin yourself, transported back in time, and it’s mind-blowingly good.
With performers running through the crowd before the show has even begun, you wouldn’t be alone in questioning if you’re actually dreaming. You know those dreams that make you disappointed to wake up- to go back to reality? That’s what it felt like last night, the sign outside the theatre, ‘in here, life is beautiful’, perfectly encapsulating the vibe.
As well as being a haven for all things queer, (the best type of show), there were also political undertones running throughout.
More than your average musical
From the nature of the Kit Kat Club- themes of homosexuality (Berlin’s gay subculture), to the backstory underpinning the whole show- fascism, Cabaret is more than your ‘average’ musical, it tells an important story, as relevant today as ever-
^ Sound familiar?
Cabaret is a story that will stay with me for a long time…
The unapologetic freedom of expression shown in every single performer throughout the show was really beautiful to see, a big ‘f**k you’ to a society that wants to neatly put us all into boxes.
From Clifford Bradshaw, an American writer who freely explores his bisexuality (as a writer myself, I very much appreciated the romanticism of Bradshaw!), to the women who are open, and empowered by, their sexuality- sexual liberation- it was so great to see- reaffirming, inspiring, all the good ‘ing’s.’
One scene that reflects both the sense of ‘otherness’/’queerness’, whatever you want to call it- refusing to conform to the norms of society- and fascism, can be seen in a singing and dancing clown and gorilla during ‘if you could see her’,
The costumes represent the marginalised ‘others’/the ‘misfits’ of society, as well as, to get specific, the animalisation of Jews during the reign of Hitler-
timely, don’t you think?
What makes one person’s life deemed ‘lesser than’ another person’s life?
‘But, did you condemn Hamas?’, they ask the orphaned Palestinian boy grieving for his dead parents…
To reference the quote I used at the beginning of this piece again;
Cabaret reminds us of what happens when we ignore fascism.
Harm is what happens when we are fast asleep.
Pain is what we endure when those around us are too deep in sleep to acknowledge what is happening-
Sometimes, we all just need a reminder to wake the f**k up, and Cabaret gives us that reminder, doing so at once both subliminally, and ‘loud and clearly.’
Thank you for the wake up call.