The musical won seven awards at Britain’s equivalent of the Tonys. A puppet-filled adaptation of “Life of Pi” and a “Back to the Future” musical also won big.
A revival of “Cabaret” that has been the talk of London’s theater world since opening in December, on Sunday swept the Olivier Awards, Britain’s equivalent of the Tonys.
Starring Eddie Redmayne in his first London role in a decade, “Cabaret” collected seven awards during a ceremony at London’s Royal Albert Hall. Its haul included best musical revival, best actor in a musical (Redmayne), best actress in a musical for Jessie Buckley as Sally Bowles, and best director for Rebecca Frecknall.
Britain’s newspaper reviewers sometimes struggled for superlatives to describe “Cabaret.” Nick Curtis, writing in The Evening Standard, summed it up with a simple: “Wow. Just wow.”
Matt Wolf, reviewing the show for The New York Times, said that Frecknall had made a “remarkable entry into musical theater” after several lauded stage productions here, including of Chekhov’s “Three Sisters” and Tennessee Williams’s “Summer and Smoke.” “Frecknall pulls us into a hedonistic milieu, only to send us out nearly three hours later reminded of life’s horrors,” he added.
The musical has gained as much attention for its staging as its performances, with audiences made to enter the Playhouse Theater through a side door, only to discover the building has been transformed to look like a 1920s Berlin nightclub. Ticketholders — some of whom criticized sky-high ticket prices — have to work their way through a labyrinth of corridors filled with dancers and drinks to get to their seats.