For a while there it looked like the West End’s ‘Cabaret’ would settle into a pattern of highly respectable but not especially famous lead actors to keep the fires stoked following the departure of its original 2021 leads Eddie Redmayne and Jessie Buckley.
That changed last year with the sensational popstar pairing of Jake Shears and Rebecca Lucy Taylor as The Emcee and Sally Bowles, the leads in Kander & Ebb’s all-time-classic musical set in a Weimar Germany slowly sliding towards Nazism. They’ve been packing audiences in since September, and have a few weeks left on their run.
And now it seems that producers are determined to keep up with the big names, as model-slash-actress-general famous person Cara Delevingne is announced as the next Sally, the bratty British cabaret singer turning a blind eye to the collapse of German society as she plies her trade in seedy establishment the Kit Kat Club.
Will she be any good? She’s certainly got a lot more screen acting under her belt than either of the two previous leads, and whatever her voice is like, any actor playing Sally is somewhat covered by the fact Sally isn’t supposed to be a good singer. And her boho pansexual It Girl image feels like a good fit.
But it’s a big role to debut with. You suspect there’s quite a lot riding on her casting, both in terms of Delevingne’s potential future as a stage actor, but also whether casting random famous people with limited stage experience is a fruitful way forward for an astonishingly successful revival that’s managed over two years in the West End without having to reduce its famously high ticket prices.
In this Delevingne will be aided considerably by her co-star: new Emcee Luke Treadaway is in fact one of those hugely respected but not really famous actors I mentioned earlier. This will only be his second stage role since his astonishing, Olivier-winning performance in 2012’s ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’ and there is the strong suspicion that he’ll be very good indeed in the flamboyant supporting role of the Kit Kat Club’s increasingly sinister master of ceremonies.
Tickets are very much available now: Taylor and Shears star until March 9, then Delevingne and Treadaway take over March 11 until June 1. ‘Cabaret’ is booking until next year, so if you want to take a punt and buy a cheap ticket for a date after June 1 then you’ll probably end up seeing somebody famous or other.
‘Cabaret’ is at the Playhouse Theatre, booking until Feb 1 2025. Buy tickets here.
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