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John Partridge stars in poignant yet decadent, tragic but funny Cabaret


New Theatre, Peterborough

Bill Kenwright Productions

Kara Lily Hayworth (Sally) and Charles Hagerty (Cliff).
Kara Lily Hayworth (Sally) and Charles Hagerty (Cliff).

Poignant, funny, decadent, tragic – all words that could be used to describe Bill Kenwright's production of Cabaret which thrilled audiences at Peterborough's New Theatre last week.

I saw Saturday evening's show and although I didn't quite know what to make of the first half – let's face it, we saw lots of bums, a pair of boobs and a willy – by the end of the show I sat gobsmacked in my seat, feeling it almost a disrespectful move to leave the theatre.

Star of the show was undoubtedly John Partridge (famous for playing Christian Clarke in Eastenders) as Emcee, who prowled the stage like a cross between Frank-N-Furter from The Rocky Horror Show and a pantomime villain.

No stranger to the stage, Partridge was absolutely mesmerising as the Master of Ceremonies at the Kit Kat Klub.

Making its Broadway debut in 1966, Cabaret is set in 1931 Berlin as the Nazis are rising to power and focuses on the seedy club.

American writer Cliff Bradshaw falls in love with English cabaret performer Sally Bowles and at the same time there is a doomed romance between German boarding house owner Fräulein Schneider and her elderly suitor Herr Schultz, a Jewish fruit vendor.

Kara Lily Hayworth is sultry, sexy and sassy as Sally while Charles Hagerty is suitably charming as the naive dreamer Cliff.


Anita Harris' portrayal of the stoic but vulnerable Fräulein Schneider was excellent and James Paterson was superb as Herr Schultz. Despite all the sexy glamour on show, I think we all fell in love with him a little bit.

Basienka Blake puts a bit of 'Carry On' into the show as prostitute Fräulein Kost and Nick Tizzard is suitably menacing as Ernst Ludwig.

There's show-stopping choreography, dazzling costumes and such iconic songs as ‘Money Makes the World Go Round’, ‘Maybe This Time’ and ‘Cabaret’ too.

I'd not seen Cabaret before but I know there's been various endings – this one was stark and bleak. But then, we are dealing with Nazi Germany.

Jeremy Ransome

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