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Cabarét in Tromsø!

This fantastic rendition of the musical Cabarét proves the story is just as relevant today as it was 50 years ago, when it first premiered.

Decay, fear and denial. Those are the three keywords Nordland Teater use to describe this production of Cabarét. We get a glimpse into the nightlife circa 1931, around the time when Hitler came into power.

Producer Wenche Bakken spoke before the show and explained that it wasn’t just a challenge to translate it into Norwegian, but to northern Norwegian. I was pleasantly surprised at how well the language worked. The language doesn’t really impact the story nor the songs.

Director Birgitte Strid believes life at the Kit Kat Klub serves as a metaphor. Being a part of a comfortable alternative rather than to face reality. Fascism casts a shadow over the Kit Kat Klub and Sally Bowles does everything to hold the darkness out of her world. Life is not black and white, it is a complex construct. Sometimes friends and neighbors fall on different political sides and become enemies.

Cabarét is relevant today because humans never learn. Back when this first premiered in 1966, we asked ourselves: how did this happen? We now see a similar change happening, a scary change. It is a cycle that continues decade after decade, but what can we do? Go to the Kit Kat Klub and forget reality?

I’ve never seen the musical before, I’m only familiar with the 1972 Liza Minelli film. Seeing as the movie came out later, the play didn’t feel as deep as the film. The Fräulein Schneider story is much more pronounced in the musical, shifting the main focus off of the Sally Bowles character. The Norwegian version of the song “So What?” was excellent, especially the singing performance of Elisabeth Moberg. The singing as well as the acting of the whole ensemble was magnificent, and the lighting, choreography and costumes were great.

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