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Ljubljana Kabaret vs. London Cabaret

Last night I went to see Kabaret at MGL with the girlfriend (who desperately needs a proper blog for me to link to in such cases) and naturally, having seen the London version, I had to compare it to what I'd seen with Peaches (who also needs a blog) a bit over a year ago in London.

First let me say that both shows were very much fun and not only because I love anything theatre more than many other things. Both had wonderful actors and wonderful music and everything else wonderful. Kabaret is by far the best play/musicle I've ever had the pleasure of seeing in a slovene playhouse and, sadly, is the only such I've ever seen in a foreign playhouse. But whatever, rules of the internets say I'm an expert after seeing something once.

The biggest difference I noticed is that Kabaret replaced front-row with proper actors and had a set of six patrons embedded into the stage with a table and chairs and everything else to make it look like a proper kabaret. Mostly they just sat there in costume, but at certain points of the musical they partook in the acting. Which is both a stroke of genius and a shame. A stroke of genius because it really brought out the idea that we're not looking at something that's supposed to be real, but at something that is in fact a depiction of something acted. But the sad part is that now front-row people didn't get the handshake from the lead like I did in London.

Another striking difference is that in Kabaret the backup dancers were actually females, and one really hot one at that, whereas in Cabaret they were men. I feel MGL dropped the ball with this move because they went too far into realism. Maybe it's a misinterpretation on my part, but I understood the musical to be a humorous depiction of 1930's Berlin and mostly that all modern cabaret is a satirisation of real cabaret. In fact, in no other cabaret, video or real, except in Slovene Kabaret, have I seen the girls to be depicted by anything other than funny men. Guess I had more to look at in MGL, but having men do the female roles (except Sally Bowles) would be funnier and more entertaining.

Other than those two differences I really couldn't find anything that would strike me as odd or too different, even the translations of all the songs were quite nearly perfect even though I noticed they screwed up the meaning on a few points to help the sound. But no biggie, it was lovely hearing the songs in Slovene and I am still quite impressed by the whole musical's mixing of different languages. Quite fun.

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Published on December 22nd, 2008 in art, review

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