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It’s a curious crowd to be surrounded by on a Wednesday night. There are the clear Cabaret newcomers, beguiled by their surroundings (including us). There’s the socialites – those who have come for the red carpet, the bustling noise and the after party. Then, the junkies – the acquainted fans who display their loyalty in their costume, sheathed in sequins, silk and a whole lot of sass. We’ve all gathered at The Athenaeum Theatre in Melbourne’s East End Theatre District for the opening night of Cabaret, The Musical.

Giving audiences an insight of what it was like to live in pre-war Berlin during the rise of Hitler, Cabaret is set around the Kit Kat Club, where young American writer Clifford Bradshaw and English girl Sally Bowles meet and fall in love. Surrounded by quirky characters exploring sexual freedom and flagrant self-expression, Bradshaw and Bowles try to navigate the dangerous political landscape together.

It can’t be more eloquently put, other than to say that Cabaret is weird. Not for the faint hearted, it’s the underground of entertainment, the left of centre and everything wrong that is so, so right. Its hilarity is in its eccentricity, the laugh out loud that you stop to wonder what made you giggle as you dawn on what you actually just saw.

Chelsea Gibb, playing key character Sally Bowles, showed some serious acting chop as she stood to deliver the title number Cabaret and was met by intermittent crackling and silence through her microphone.

But this is the nature of the theatre, the origin of ‘the show must go on’. Director, Gale Edwards, and Emcee, played by Paul Capsis, prompted Chelsea to fix her microphone with Gale rallying to the audience, ‘We won’t mind, will we?’ You wouldn’t have known it wasn’t all part of the script, as each member of the cast stayed perfectly in character for Chelsea to then deliver a booming, standing ovation worthy rendition of the song.

It’s a vocal, visual masterpiece of theatre with a unique combination of outrage, race and decadence — it’s a night out that you won’t be forgetting in any near future.

The season has been extended to Saturday, 27 May at the Athenaeum on Collins Street.

Athenaeum Theatre, 188 Collins Street, Melbourne
Till Saturday, 27 May 2017

Art & Design


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