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Posts Tagged ‘Philip Engleheart’

Given that it’s such a milestone in musical theatre, I haven’t seen this Kander & Ebb show anywhere near enough times. I first saw it in Sam Mendes extraordinary Donmar production twenty-five years ago, when they turned the theatre into the Kit Kat club, and last saw it in Rufus Norris’ chilling West End revival 12 years ago. This is the 50th anniversary of its London premiere, in the brand new LAMDA theatre. It’s a tough call for a drama school, particularly one like LAMDA, better known for drama than musical theatre. The result is a bit uneven, but worth seeing.

Writing a show about the rise of the Nazi’s revolving around a decadent Berlin nightclub would be brave now let alone fifty years ago and in Joanna Read’s production they’ve made it dark virtually throughout. For some reason, on this occasion, it struck me that apart from the handful of well-known songs, there are a lot of mediocre ones. Philip Engleheart’s design gives the Kit Kat Club an excellent, original aesthetic. The ending is absolutely chilling, but brilliant. It’s better acted than it is sung, but there’s an excellent five-piece band under Jonathan Williams.

It’s tough for drama school students to play a lot older, but here I thought Helena Antoniou and Scott Gordon did well as Fraulein Schneider and Herr Schultz. I liked Dylan La Rocque’s take on the MC, just about the right amount of camp. James Trent was an excellent Clifford and Harry McMullen and Milly Roberts impressed as Ernst Ludwig and Fraulien Kost.

Good to see it again.

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