Where else but to im Kabaret, au Cabaret, to Cabaret…I was nearly beside myself to see that Cabaret was playing in Vienna and I was able to catch one of the opening shows. My husband was unable to make the performance so a gracious friend filled in to take the seat, pretty brave of anyone who’s not as familiar with the stage version of the show, as it some of the gesticulations can be quite forward, and this particular production was no shy slouch.
The only (unsurprising given our location) twist in this particular version is that it’s actually performed in German. Given that I don’t speak it, i thought, well at least I’ll know the melodies – and luckily I know the show in English almost by heart (“mmm-hmmm, sure, luckily,” my husband mumbled when he thought he was going to have to get dragged along). Despite the occassional “what did he say?”, the show is enjoyable and captures the spirit of the original, the cast takes on the Weimar Cabaret with gusto, and both the Emcee and Sally Bowles characters were expertly cast, with the leads changing between English and German in all the key songs based on what fit best.
I hadn’t been to the Kammerspiele itself before but it ended up being a perfect venue for the production as it’s small in size and draped every which way in red velour naturally, so it ended actually conveying the feel of a cabaret, minus the clanky tables. What really caught me by surprise is that the median age of the audience had to be well into their sixities, clearly long-time patrons, and some of the graphic portions didn’t seem to phase them one bit. I don’t see the same thing happening in the US, but perhaps it’s also a generational thing – the movie that made this show such a hit was from the early 70’s, making them roughly the age that I am now when it would have first come out. Or perhaps there’s just a higher appetite for Cabaret-like behavior around here; Vienna isn’t that far from Berlin after all.
You can catch the show through December at the Kammerspiele – just be careful, the ticketing website isn’t exactly user friendly and it’s all in German. If in doubt, you can write/call the theater directly.