From the very start we knew that performing Cabaret as the school play was going to be a rather tricky affair, one that could either go spectacularly, or flop like a dead fish. Thankfully I believe the fisherman were not out during the performance of Cabaret. The amount of hard work and effort that went into the whole production is truly phenomenal. From the beautiful atmospheric lighting and stage design of Miss Archard, to her incredible backstage helpers, to the makeup artists, to those who built the set, to the wonderful orchestra, to the actors and dancers and singers. And of course last but not least to the fantastic vision and direction of Mr Kerr. Without all these wonderful people none of this could have been as successful as it was.
Coming off the back of Guys and Dolls, taking on another musical was surely a daunting task. The decision to chose Cabaret (possibly one of the darkest and most sensitive plays the school has ever performed) meant that we knew from the beginning this was something we had to handle with care to avoid falling into the pit of stereotypical nazi jokes and over gratuitous sexualisation. We needed to find the perfect balance between the purposefully uncomfortable nature of the show while also allowing it to be something everyone could enjoy, a show that would make people think as well as laugh and cry. In short, a play that makes you laugh at its quaintness before slapping you around the face with a frying pan telling you to wake up.
We started at a time that now seems moons ago, back in the first week of the school year, all frantically learning lines (and trying to find the right German accent that wasn’t slightly racist) or going over dance moves and poses over and over again in our minds (and at times in our bedrooms). And not to forget the amount of times we all ended up breaking into song mid way down the corridors, hopping no-one would hear us and have the show spoiled. For those who did know of the show before the first few weeks must have seemed like any other musical. Complete with fun musical numbers, exciting characters who cant seem to stop bursting into song, and elaborate dance moves. Once the whole show began to come together however, we began to truly see the mastery of the show, not as just a simple holly jolly musical like Guys and Dolls before it, but something more, something deeper. This show wasn’t just about the underground sexual life of 1930’s Berlin and the events that surround it, the Kit Kat Klub was something bigger than that, epitomised in the eerie and ever-present figure of the MC, played masterfully by Amadi, a figure used to express, through playful song and dance, the horrors of not only the nazi’s themselves, but the culture of ignorance summed up perfectly in the lines “It will pass, I promise you”.
In the end id like to hope that everyone managed to get something out of Cabaret, because those who worked so painstakingly on it surely did. Even if the message of the play blew straight over your head while watching, or you were too unnerved by the dark atmosphere, it made you think, or at least it entertained you. And in the end isn’t that what theatres all about, to make people think (or at least to entertain).
So once again Id like to thank all the cast and everyone who put their hearts and soul into the production, and above all to Mr Kerr. I know that those actors in their last year wouldn’t have wanted their last school play performance to go any other way. And finally I hope that you all will remember and cherish the performance as much as the cast will for the rest of their lives
-By Oliver Hurley