Inside the Kit Kat Club of 1931 Berlin, starry-eyed singer Sally Bowles and an impish emcee sound the clarion call to decadent fun, while outside a certain political party grows into a brutal force.
Set against a backdrop of rising Nazi power in Berlin in the early 1930s, this is a wonderfully colourful and sexually provocative piece of musical cinema that centres around the cabaret in the "Kit Kat Club". Introduced by the outstandingly ambiguous Joel Grey as the Master of Ceremonies, we are introduced to the star attraction - "Miss Sally Bowles" (Liza Minnelli) and for the next two hours we see aspects of their stage entertainment interspersed with her life, and that of her new-found friend "Brian" (Michael York) as they fall in and out of love, of bed - and of bed with their friend "Max" (Helmut Griem) too! Just to defuse some of that intensity, there is a parallel storyline featuring the lovestruck "Fritz" (Fritz Wepper) who is the initially gold-digging, but ultimately sincere suitor for the hand of the Jewish heiress "Natalia" (Marisa Berenson). The threads of the story are perfectly knitted together by Bob Fosse, who demonstrates the odious political and anti-semitic politics whilst also presenting us with some wonderfully entertaining dance numbers staged within the confines of a real theatre. This gives us an added intimacy and richness to the performances. We see their faces, the holes in their stockings, the audience are in the thick of things and frequently participants (willingly or not!). Of course, the whole thing is really about the superb voice of Miss Minnelli - and "Money, Money"; "Cabaret" and the show stopping "Maybe This Time" from Messrs. Kander & Ebb are the stuff of showbiz legend. Also, to be fair - which I am not always to Michael York; he turns in an honest and authentic effort as the hapless young Englishman who must adapt to his new friends and surroundings. I saw this on stage very recently, and thoroughly enjoyed it. This is as close a representation to theatre staging as I reckon it is possible to make and I thoroughly enjoyed it too!