It’s probably my favorite show. I could give you a one woman version of Sally Bowles and her entourage at the drop of a hat, which is why I didn’t mind seeing it in Danish (they kept the songs in english though). Actually, despite my love for Cabaret, when I heard it would be on the stage of the Royal Theater here, I really hesitated going. I have seen Cabaret a number of times, and while I love the music, the endings, which are the type of thing that makes you wonder what is wrong with humanity in general, are becoming harder to stomach. And also candidly, since seeing it a number of times, the productions started to run into one another in memory. Each was fun, but the concept was always similar, from the set all the way down to the emcee.
But…at the last minute, I ended up getting tickets for the last evening performance this weekend. So glad I did, as it made me fall in love the show all over again. Copenhagen knocked it out of the park on this one, truly. The show still stuck with the overall Kit Kat Club feel but they did so much with set design and costumes, even bringing in a full Las Vegas style revue full of plumage and glitter and chorus line and glitter and glitter and more glitter. There was glitter, obviously.
See for yourself:
The set was nearly bare and that let two things really shine – the lighting which was used to demarcate rooms, and the special sound effects person they brought in. Because there was nothing on the set other than the actors and their belongings – there were never any objects, save for a few key things like the pineapple or the crystal bowl. So the sound of a typewriter, or the shuffle of someone packing a suitcase, or the thud of a door slamming was all done by a single sound effects specialist. SHE was brilliant.
And the orchestra was brilliant…someone actually thought through arrangements in a different way without straying from what makes the originals so wonderful. “Cabaret” was the Las Vegas review, “Hush up” was done to tinkling and aerial gymnastics, and the whole orchestra was lifted out of the pit to play ukeleles together for “Perfectly Wonderful”. Perfectly brilliant, yet again.
They cut out a few numbers like “Mein Herr” (sad face from me, one of my faves), and “Maybe this Time” (okay, fine), and I was trying to figure out whether that was intentional, or perhaps due to the somewhat raspy voice of Sally Bowles. I wonder if after nearly a month of this show, she might have taken a bit of strain. Still delivered though. Cliff was played as Cliff usually always is. But it’s the Emcee made me swoooon….believe it or not, he’d give Alan Cumming a run for his money (and maybe Joel Grey too – and no one beats those two). Unlike most Emcees recently who have chosen to convey the louchey narrator by wearing less and less, Peter Plauborg goes the opposite route with almost a full closet of Gatsby-like attire that’s a full reflection of the 30’s: double-breasted suits, full white tie, spats, silk robes and the like. He was also…brilliant.
And the theater was…brilliant (brilliant is a theme here…). The first time we went to the Royal Theater, we had a nice time but full disclosure, I cried a bit in the corner because it just wasn’t Vienna… But this time, I don’t know if it was because it was Cabaret, or because I’ve stopped comparing everything to Vienna, or just because spring is in the air, but the theater seemed more jovial…there were more places for champagne…even the audience had a bit more glitter to it to. But without losing any of the hygge. Open flames in the foyer? Check. It’s so Copenhagen. And I love it now.
I generally try to see performances on the first or last nights – something about the energy of it all, but my only regret about this show was that I waited so long. First, because now that I write about it, it’s a bit of a moot point – no one else can go see it as it closed this weekend. But second, the Royal Theater had two casts of leads so it would have been interesting to see how they differed in their interpretations, as I understand each cast put their own spin and emphasis on different parts of the show.
And as a brilliant little post-scriptum to the show, we had a night cap right across the way at the Hotel d’Angleterre. We hadn’t been in a while, and it’s so lovely to see the hotel settling into itself after the reopening when we first arrived. Truly an evening and a place to “leave your troubles…outside…here, life is beautiful”.
Photos and videos of cast from Der Kongelige Teater ; black and white photos my own.