Cabaret Brecht; a combination of poems, plays and songs, extracted and adapted from Brecht’s lesser known work, was outstanding. Both comical and political, nonsensical and logical, Cabaret Brecht was accessible, engaging and thoroughly enjoyable. It was a nuanced and well structured performance which had clearly been carefully considered by director, Sussex graduate, Alex Brown. The Roll Call of the Virtues and Vices with its highly choreographed movement was particular testament to this.
A talented cast, that included Sussex students Benedict Shaw and Sanya Adebola, demonstrated a remarkable versatility; adapting easily to the variety of acting styles and dramatic skills that the cabaret style show required, moving seamlessly from intense sincerity to farcical comedy with tremendous success. Notably impressive was the large amount of singing that the show incorporated and the reality that the actors were capable of doing more than simply carrying a tune. In fact the ensemble songs were always noteworthy and the moving Song of a German Mother, sung beautifully by Katherine Kotz was one of the highlights of the whole performance.
For me, it was the touching moments like this one that were the most affecting. Although the comic timing and emphasis of the humorous pieces, of which Dansen was particularly worth mentioning, was consistently flawless, it was the genuine sincerity of the more emotive pieces that was most effective. For this reason, the closing piece, a poem entitled Everything Changes, proved a perfect ending: splitting the lines between the entire cast not only emphasised the repetitiveness of the poem’s very form, reaffirming the thoughtfulness of the direction, but also reinforced the poignancy of its sentiment. I thought this performance was exceptional and I have read this poem every day since.