Come to the Cabaret. The doors are set to open on a show that will be dusted off, shaken vigorously, and explored anew.
As a starter, Eddie Redmayne is back at the Kit Kat Klub, after a 20-year absence.
The Oscar-winning star has wanted to return to the decadent dive ever since he played the master of ceremonies in Cabaret at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2001.
Eddie Redmayne will play Emcee after working on plans to stage a new production of Cabaret
And, over the intervening years, he has held discussions with Ed Bartlam and Charlie Wood (the pair who staged the Cabaret he appeared in, at Fringe venue the Underbelly) about how they might stage a new production of John Kander and Fred Ebb’s musical, set in a seedy, anything goes Berlin haunt during the final days of the Weimar Republic, as Hitler came to power.
Then, four years ago, Adam Speers, head of the Ambassador Theatre Group’s stage productions, became involved, after working with Bartlam and Wood on another show (Into The Hoods, which also went to the Underbelly). Speers, Bartlam, Wood — and Redmayne — resolved to explore ways to present Cabaret to contemporary audiences.
Their efforts have been rewarded with a West End run of the show — with performances from early November, this column can reveal.
Their most audacious move has been to sign director Rebecca Frecknall to the new production, in which Redmayne will play the grotesque Emcee and Jessie Buckley, the Kit Kat Klub’s star attraction, Sally Bowles.
Jessie Buckley is set to play the Kit Kat Klub’s star attraction, Sally Bowles in Cabaret revival
Pictured: Julian Clary as Emcee and Amy Nuttall as Sally Bowles in Cabaret back in 2007
Frecknall has been acclaimed for her ability to strip back plays to their core — as in her breathtaking production of Tennessee Williams’s Summer And Smoke at the Almeida and in the West End. Her hiring signals that this Cabaret will be reimagined.
It’s one of the reasons why Kander, and those representing the estates of Ebb and book writer Joe Masteroff (who based his script on Christopher Isherwood’s The Berlin Stories and John Van Druten’s play I Am A Camera) have embraced the project.
Frecknall has attracted a quality creative team that includes the scenic and costume designer Tom Scutt, who came up with the look for Summer And Smoke.
Julia Cheng, the dance artist who founded the performance group House Of Absolute, will handle the choreography.
Pictured: Will Young starring in a production of Cabaret at the Savoy Theatre in 2012
And Jennifer Whyte, who worked with Redmayne on Les Miserables and The Danish Girl (and many West End musicals) will undertake musical supervision. Isabella Byrd and Nick Lidster are on lighting and sound design.
People often complain about revivals of musicals, but it’s exciting when a theatre practitioner of Frecknall’s calibre brings a fresh perspective to a modern classic first staged in 1966.
Tickets to come hear the music play are on sale from June 28. Sign on at kitkat.club for ticket updates.
Those actors seeking an opportunity to perform in what could become a historic production should put down their knitting/the book/and the broom and make their way to casting director Stuart Burt.
Stars brave enough to answer the Call
Mother of God! Line Of Duty star Kelly Macdonald is joining Helena Bonham Carter and Olivia Williams to play ever-so-slightly exaggerated versions of themselves in the Anglicised adaptation of French TV hit series Call My Agent! — about a Paris talent agency and its challenging clients.
The eight-part show has started filming in London with (as this column predicted last month) Jack Davenport and Lydia Leonard as the leaders of a coterie of agents who represent luminaries such as . . . Macdonald, Bonham Carter and Williams.
Kelly Macdonald will join Helena Bonham Carter and Olivia Williams to play ever-so slightly exaggerated versions of themselves in an adaptation of French TV series Call My Agent!
The rights for the Brit Call My Agent! has been snapped up by Amazon Prime and will feature Helena Bonham Carter and Olivia Williams playing exaggerated versions of themselves
Amazon Prime has swooped in and snapped up the rights to broadcast the Brit Call My Agent! in the UK and Ireland after securing a deal with BRON Studios and Headline Pictures.
The original has become a must-watch on Netflix. A big part of the fun was being able to see French legends such as Juliette Binoche, Nathalie Baye (who’s over here filming the latest Downton Abbey movie) and Isabelle Adjani gaily mocking themselves.
It’s good that Bonham Carter, a two-time Oscar nominee whose portrayal of Princess Margaret in the last two seasons of The Crown garnered many plaudits, is game for a laugh; as is Williams — who, as revealed here, will play Camilla Parker Bowles in future episodes of The Crown.
The actress is currently starring in The Nevers on Sky and NOWTV. She’s also in The Father, with Academy Award victor Anthony Hopkins. And I’ve recently been re-watching her performances in The Sixth Sense and Rushmore.
The eight-part show started filming in London with Jack Davenport and Lydia Leonard as the leaders of a coterie of agents representing luminaries such as Macdonald and Bonham Carter
Pictured: the French hit series is about a Paris talent agency and its challenging clients
Macdonald, who started out in edgy classic Trainspotting, kept the nation on its toes when she guest-starred in BBC ratings winner Line Of Duty as Detective Superintendent Joanne Davidson.
She’s had powerful roles in the Oscar-winning No Country For Old Men and Boardwalk Empire.
The UK remake of Call My Agent is being directed by W1A writer John Morton, who has also created the scripts for the series.
Cast members will include Maggie Steed and Prasanna Puwanarajah. Jim Broadbent will make a special appearance.
Layton Williams (left) and John McCrea both playing Jamie in Everybody’s Talking About Jamie
Pictured: Max Hardwood (left) in film and Noah Thomas (right) on stage as the current Jamie in the hit musical Everybody’s Talking About Jamie at the Apollo Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue
Fans of the musical Everybody’s Talking About Jamie won’t be able to stop talking about this … the three stage Jamies — John McCrea, Layton Williams and Noah Thomas (the current one) — will link up with Max Harwood, star of the film, on stage on Tuesday at the Apollo Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue.
It’s all to celebrate the show’s 1,000th performance ‘a year late’, producer Nica Burns told me, laughing down the phone. The Jamie film streams on Amazon Prime from September 17.