Eddie Redmayne’s ‘Cabaret’ Shocks the Internet for a Week

Eddie Redmayne’s ‘Cabaret’ Shocks the Internet for a Week

NEW YORK — The Broadway revival of “Cabaret” at the August Wilson Theatre has taken the internet by storm, largely due to Eddie Redmayne’s electrifying performance as the Emcee. The venue has been transformed into the Kit Kat Club, a Weimar-era Berlin nightspot, immersing theatergoers in a boozy, burlesque atmosphere even before the show begins.

Directed by Rebecca Frecknall, this British import won seven Olivier Awards, including Best Musical. However, some critics feel that the production has lost some of its magic in the transatlantic crossing. Despite this, Redmayne’s portrayal of the Emcee has been widely praised. Known for his Oscar-winning role as Stephen Hawking in “The Theory of Everything” and his Tony Award-winning performance in “Red,” Redmayne brings a unique and androgynous energy to the character. His physical precision and theatrical audacity elevate the production, making his performance a must-see.

The production stays true to the seedy Berlin aesthetic, but if you’re looking for powerhouse singing, you might be disappointed. Gayle Rankin’s portrayal of Sally Bowles has been met with mixed reviews. While Jessie Buckley won an Olivier for her performance in the London run, Rankin’s interpretation has been criticized for lacking the charm and vocal prowess needed for the role.

Ato Blankson-Wood plays Clifford Bradshaw, the bisexual American writer who becomes entangled with Sally. However, the chemistry between Rankin and Blankson-Wood has been questioned, leaving some scenes feeling flat. The ensemble cast, including veterans like Bebe Neuwirth and Steven Skybell, provides some relief, but Neuwirth’s diminished singing highlights the production’s overall lackluster musicality.

The choreography by Julia Cheng is hypnotic, adding a ribald vibrancy to the show. However, the emotional impact of the story and its musical numbers, such as “Maybe This Time” and the title song “Cabaret,” fall short of expectations.

Despite these shortcomings, Redmayne’s performance remains the highlight of the production. His portrayal of the Emcee captures the character’s queer vulnerability and the looming Nazi menace, although some feel the political elements are treated too decoratively.

In summary, while Eddie Redmayne’s performance in “Cabaret” has captivated audiences and shocked the internet, the overall production has received mixed reviews. The revival offers a unique take on the classic musical, but it may not satisfy all fans of the original.

Source: The New York Times

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