Cabaret - performed October/November 1980

By John Kander, Joe Masteroff, Fred Ebb

Performed with the kind permission of Tams-Witmark of New York

Director - Dennis Murfitt
Musical Director - Patience Ling


(in order of appearance)

Master of Ceremonies (Emcee) Dennis Murfitt
Clifford Bradshaw David Goodman
Ernst Ludwig Kevin Brown
Customs Officer Peter Talbot-Ashby
Fraulein Scheider Valerie Taylor
Fraulein Kost Judy Hussey
Herr Schultz Herbert Yeats
Telephone Girl Frances Brown
Sally Bowles Brenda Chapman
Two Ladies Yvonne Cobbold
Frances Brown
Gorilla Angela Prior
Waiters John Merritt
William Chapman
Christine Eaton
Frances Brown
German Sailors Ed King
Adrian Bolton
Two Nazis Richard Ling
William Chapman
Kit-Kat Girls Susan King
Marion Boyce
Janet Green
Gail Derry
Vicki Regan
Beverley Cousins
Yvonne Cobbold
Angela Prior
Christine Eaton
Frances Brown

Production Team

Peter Westbrook, Jenny Rollings, Bruce Emeny, Christine and Peter Potter, Val Taylor, Sally Mann, Janet Cousins, Dennis Murfitt, Glynis Philp, Derek Cobbold, Geoffrey Taylor, John Honeywood, Viv Wheatley.

The Musical

As the Nazis begin their rise to power in Germany in the late 1920s, American writer Clifford Bradshaw visits Berlin. After making a few friends and finding housing, Clifford visits the sleazy Kit Kat Club and meets an English singer, Sally Bowles. The writer and singer soon fall in love. Meanwhile, Clifford's elderly landlord, Fraulein Schneider, gets engaged to a Jewish greengrocer, Herr Schultz not an easy decision given the increasing influence of the Nazis. Soon, Clifford discovers that he has been inadvertently helping the Nazis by delivering packages to Paris for a German friend of his, Ernst Ludwig. Clifford ends up deciding to return to the United States but Sally, after aborting their baby, decides to remain in Berlin.


WUNDERBAR - that is the only way to describe the Manningtree-based Manifest Theatre Group's production of Cabaret. Having overheard several early rehearsals - being at a meeting in the next room - I felt the group had bitten off more than it could chew. But no, the old adage "it will be all right on the night" was certainly true.
The production was tremendous, quite faultless, but perhaps the players will be too much praise, so I will leave it at wonderful! This the groups forth production, was by far the most challenging piece it has undertaken and one that few amateur groups would have attempted. Cabaret has been successfully produced both as a stage play and a film, the latter starring Liza Minnelli as the main character, and contains many memorable songs.
It deals with the rise or the Third Reich and the Nazi Party prior to the last war and the effect this had on various people. Needing a cast of about 40, the group was handicapped to some extent by lack of space. The undoubted star was Dennis Murfitt as Emcee. Dennis who also produced and directed the play, was in a class of his own.

Of the other main characters, I particularly enjoyed the performance of Valerie Taylor, as the proprietor of a cheap boarding house. She suddenly has to face up to the possible consequences after becoming engaged to a German Jew, played by Herbert Yeats, who gave a good performance after a slow start. Judy Hussey was admirable as a lady of the night, while the dancing troupe provided added glamour and gave a competent performance. And, finally, a word of praise for the backstage workers - the costume makers, those responsible for lighting effects, which played such a big part in giving the professional touch to the production; and the stage hands. With no curtains, this latter group worked in almost total darkness yet never once erred, moving swiftly and silently about the task.
Lesley Pallett

The monstrous face of Nazism, thinly masked by the gaiety of a Berlin nightclub, makes strong stuff for the Manifest Theatre Group's latest production at Manningtree. To call the hit musical "Cabaret" a kind of "Holocaust chapter one" hints at the emotional demands on the cast, but all the pathos is there, making massive impact on its sell-out audiences.
Producer-director Denis Murfitt, who also takes the central role of the night club MC, dislikes the term "amateur" because it infers amateurish, and his professional handling of this courageous production by a gifted team explains why. With her poignant singing and loveable acting Valerie Taylor steals the show as the buxom German boarding house keeper who breaks off her engagement to a German Jew, played by Herbert Yeats. These tow make a tear jerking middle-aged team to melt every heart.
Brenda Chapman take the singing honours as the cabaret star set on the big time, despite the rising tide of fascism. Opposite her, as her American lover, David Goodman maintains a convincing accent and brings a passionate hatred of Hitler to the part. Keith Brown scores as the Hitler youth leader who brings the real theme of the action to the surface. The sensitive piano playing of Patience Ling and Paddy Verstage, increasingly off-key and harsh as the play progressed, was a vital feature, and the masterly use of lighting by Bruce Emeny was important, particularly with the absence of curtains.

Photo Shoot

Yvonne, ??, Richard, Viv, Jane, Bev, Brenda

(click on an image below to view a larger photo - arrow keys navigate through the set)