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Once through the doors, we are in the Kit Kat Club of Weimar Berlin, complete with red lighting, half-dressed girls and boys and intimate tables. And 1930s decadence has rarely been more immersive ‑ the moment Eddie Redmayne’s contorted Emcee rises from the stage on a tiered platform like a tarantula on a wedding cake, you know you are in the hands of a master manipulator.
If Jessie Buckley’s Sally Bowles is more Daisy Pulls it Off than naive wild child expat, she retains a touching vulnerability and plays defiantly against more traditional portrayals.
But it is Redmayne’s show and he relishes every moment, shapeshifting from satanic clown (Willkommen) to Nosferatulike vampire for the show-stopping Money.
While the posturing sexuality may lack the after-dark allure of genuine sleaze, the tentative romance between Liza Sadovy’s Fraulein Schneider and Elliot Levey’s Herr Schultz (It Couldn’t Please Me More) throbs with a passion that is throttled at birth by the Nazi threat and chillingly conveyed in the prophetic Tomorrow Belongs to Me. Terrific dancers and musicians enhance the atmosphere.
A very hot ticket indeed.
Kit Kat Club, Playhouse Theatre, London, until October 1
Tickets: 03330 096 690
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