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
|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
|German Sailors||Ed King
|Two Nazis||Richard Ling
|Kit-Kat Girls||Susan King
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.
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.