Salon Perdu Spiegeltent, Auckland

28/10/2010 - 18/12/2010

Production Details

Experience Auckland Theatre Company’s brand new production of CABARET at the lavish Salon Perdu Spiegeltent. This authentic European cabaret tent, imported from Holland especially for the show, will be located at Auckland Viaduct (next to the Maritime Museum) from 28 October.
Starring Michael Hurst (as the Emcee), Tyran Parke and Amanda Billing, with a full chorus of New Zealand’s leading musical performers as the cast of the Kit Kat Klub, this is CABARET as you’ve never seen it before.
“Quite simply, one of the greatest musicals ever” The Times
Wilkommem! Bienvenue! Welcome! to the provocative and sexy world of CABARET at the Salon Perdu Spiegeltent, Auckland Theatre Company’s very own Kit Kat Klub.
Berlin, 1930. Young American writer, Cliff Bradshaw, arrives in a city caught in the gathering storm of Nazism. At the giddy, glitzy and garish Kit Kat Klub he falls for irrepressible English chanteuse Sally Bowles. She’s partying like there’s no tomorrow and she leads him into an underworld of divine decadence and dark prophecy.
Under the sardonic gaze of the Klub’s Emcee, the two share dreams of a future that will never be in a world out of control and racing towards disaster.
Packed full with irresistible songs and great dance routines, CABARET at the Salon Perdu Spiegeltent is a divinely decadent way to cap off 2010!
“Perfectly marvellous” The New York Times
“CABARET is one of the most enduring of musicals,” says ATC Artistic Director Colin McColl, “it caused a sensation when it made its 1966 Broadway debut, and the season ran for nearly two thousand performances.”
“CABARET was the first mega-hit for the brilliant composer/lyricist duo, John Kander and Fred Ebb, who went on to create another iconic musical CHICAGO”, says McColl. 
Cabaret is one of the defining musicals of the postwar era” The Guardian
“We’re thrilled to bring Michael Hurst’s new production of CABARET here to the Salon Perdu Spiegeltent, which replicates the spirit and atmosphere of German Kabaret of the late Weimar Republic,” says McColl.
“Berlin pulsed into the 1930s debauched and unfettered,” says director Michael Hurst. “ But ‘Sin City’ was ripe for a clean up, and the morally upright were ready and willing to wield the disinfectant, duped by the idea of a powerful, healthy and racially pure utopia. And wield it they did.”
“In the 1930s, with a carefully manufactured and brutal wave of negative eugenics, the malefic agents of the Third Reich swiftly eradicated the troubled culture of the Weimar republic. But the spirit of that period still shimmers – the eroticism, art, architecture, music, film, theatre, literature and sheer ecstasy of a futurist society whose escape into hedonism before the Nazi storm was akin to re-arranging deck chairs on the Titanic,” says Hurst.
“Cabaret reminds us that fundamentalism of any kind is the antipathy of human freedom. Religious extremism, reactionary politics, greed and the lust for power will always be the enemies of humanity,” says director Michael Hurst.
“This is as true today as it ever was. From the Tea Party to The Taleban, we must be vigilant, or before we know it the clubs will again be closed, our children will be brainwashed with pseudo science and life won’t be any kind of cabaret at all,” says Hurst.
Auckland Theatre Company invites you to leave your troubles outside, sit back and enjoy divinely decadent world of CABARET.

Salon Perdu, Spiegeltent
28 October – (extended to…) 18 December
Tickets available at Ticketek. 

Warning: Contains nudity and adult themes.

With Amanda Billing • Michael Hurst • Paul Barrett • Mike Edward • Sia Trokenheim • Colleen Davis • Lynda Milligan • Tyran Parke • Sarah Iwaskow • Will Barling • Ebon Grayman • Hannah Tasker-Poland
Choreography Shona McCullagh
Music Direction Grant Winterburn

Design Nic Smillie & Bryan Caldwell

Atmosphere, intimacy and songs with a political edge

Review by Janet McAllister 02nd Nov 2010

“Do I shock you?” Sally asks Cliff. “Are you trying to shock me?” he counters. And the answer – both for Sally and for this fabulous, original, risque production of Cabaret is: yes. Why else would Michael Hurst be running around with a two-foot dildo sticking out of his Y-fronts?

Auckland Theatre Company has pulled out all the stops, created some apt new burlesque numbers and recruited several talented and rather attractive young people to wear pasties and spread their waxed legs. Yet the angry political charge is as thrilling as the raunchy eroticism. [More]


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A sight for all eyes: a must

Review by Adey Ramsel 31st Oct 2010

A drum roll, a cymbal and we’re there, but this ain’t no Cabaret you’ve seen before. 

The Auckland Theatre Company has chosen to close their 2010 season with a show guaranteed to pull in the musical theatre crowd, but those flocking to see this classic beware: this is no traditional prosc arch presentation. Set in the bygone magnificence of Salon Perdu Spiegeltent, this production pays homage, breaks new ground, sets standards, re-invents the genre and literally shreds the musical to its bare essentials. 

We could almost feel the buzz experienced by the very first, ‘first night’ audience when Cabaret premiered back in 1966 and one can almost imagine this is the kind of production writers Kander and Ebb originally dreamed of when they first envisaged their show: it is just so… Cabaret!

An ensemble cast of twelve, meagre brush-stroke props and the venue itself set the scene as we dive into the sexy, debauched world of the Kit Kat Club. Emcee Michael Hurst introduces us to the mad, bad and dangerous to know gang around him, taking us on a journey that we know will shock us in more ways than one. 

Bared flesh and spanking is only the start, and before the night is out we’ve witnessed topless dancers, vicious passion, simulated sex and a phallic addition to the Emcee that must add at least a foot or two to the great man himself. 

There are simply no holds barred and one wonders at the brain from where it all stemmed, but Hurst, this time as Director, has let his imagination and his cast run rampart resulting in a mesmerising, cult-ish swamp of decadence that delights with each shocking act. 

Even the grotesque ‘If You Could See Her’number seemed to find its own place in the bizarre scheme of things, though I found the humour of the number severely lost in interpretation and it will be interesting to see how an audience takes to this kind of parody – those around me noticeably stiffened and forced a smile. If this is the intention, then it works. 

The cast portray an eclectic deviant brew of pretenders, trying to uphold outdated morals and wearing masks of pretence that their world is not changing when each number and scene depicted proves the opposite. The days of gay abandonment are near an end and this cast give us a last hoorah before that end comes storm-trooping in. Chilling. 

This production thrives in showing us that the party in Berlin, though raging as hard and as fast as ever, was over long before anyone bothered to tell the party-goers themselves: each fooling themselves to the bitter end. 

Thank God there is someone out there brave enough to take a knife to Sally Bowles, and cut out Liza Minnelli for once. Amanda Billing is an exciting stage sensation for my money, already breathing new life and blood into what has become a somewhat stale character. Her rendition of ‘Cabaret’ is the one to beat from now on – sung with heartfelt sarcasm, and a sense of futile dreams shattered in every word. 

She is the embodiment of fooling oneself into believing the world will be right, laugh your troubles away and the only evil is that which you snort up your nose; but behind every gesture and nuance is the threat of what is to come and for once I found myself caring for this Sally and what will become of her. You don’t really want her to go ‘back home’ with wet blanket Cliff but at least get the hell out of there. Billing bares her soul right there in front of us and it pays off.

Tyran Parke as Cliff is serious, straight, seeing the action first through his rose tinted glasses then as the glasses and gloves come off, refuses to lose his identity and that of the woman he loves. In the end, though, he runs back home to the safety of Mother and we are left with a sense that Parke has portrayed a Cliff that has let Sally down, deserted her to the Nazi threat and thereby let himself and his ideals down. 

Dressed in permanent tweed and very much a wallflower compared to all that happens around him, Parke gives us the romance of a man in love then the tragedy of that same man still in love. This Cliff has no right to be in Berlin and even less right to lecture others. 

Elderly lovers Paul Barrett as Herr Schultz and Lynda Mulligan, Fraulein Schneider, make us reflect the other side of the coin: two sides of the same country that have no choice in who or how they were born but who suffer because of it. For them running back home is no option as home is where the danger lies, and played in the round, that danger is literally all around. The determined innocence of Barrett’s Schultz, smiling and holding his fiancée’s hand as the cast sing a hymn to Hitler around this Jewish fruit seller, is tragic and heartbreaking. 

Colleen Davies as Fraulein Kost is a walking, glorious sex-mad advert for running home to the safety of mother, whilst Mike Edwards’ Ernst is evil in itself – the blonde, blue-eyed boy that stalks the evening with an oppression that threatens more than his impressive biceps. 

A multi-talented company of five complete the troupe, supporting each other in many creative ways. In turns providing set, scene and props, they are a well-oiled machine and director Hurst should be proud of what they have given him back in return for his vision. It’s all for one up there and the team comes through.

The tribal and energetic choreography by Shona McCullagh is vibrant and powerful, each cabaret routine a story in itself: a major factor in the overall success of the show. Grant Winterburn’s band is not intrusive yet underlying with its haunting renditions. 

When a show can play theatre in the round and make the direction look so effortless, using the arena as if written for it, then full credit to director and cast for allowing the audience to enjoy every moment. Not once did we feel as if we were on the other side from the action. Light use of the revolve made great impact. 

From the light-hearted, but random, cabaret pieces that begin each Act – excellently executed by Mike Edwards and Ebon Grayman at the start of Act 2 – to the horrific beating of Cliff, this show is a sight for all eyes. A must, if only to say you saw this production when it’s spoken about in years to come. 
For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News. 


Susan Sanders November 19th, 2010

Check this out--ATC's Cabaret reviewed by the LA Times!  And they loved it.

I keep saying that there is theatre being done in NZ that is world class; here's the evidence.

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