cabaret revival soundtrack

Posted on March 22nd, 2006 by Scraps.
Categories: Albums, Music, Theatre.

I remember reading good reviews of Alan Cumming as the MC in the late-1990s revival of Cabaret. I don't know how he was on stage, but on the soundtrack he is dreadful, overplayed and vulgar without charm or polish. The MC is a balancing act; sure he's crass, but he's also slick. Cumming is all growls and whoops and nudges without actually bringing anything compelling to his singing; where Joel Grey was creepy and disturbing, Cumming just comes across as a lout. And he can't even keep his accent consistently. It's a hard part to nail -- there's no humanity to it -- but Cumming misses by a mile. Natasha Richardson is all right, but Cumming ruins just about the whole show for me. An especially annoying example is "If You Could See Her Through My Eyes," in which he plays it for goofs throughout, apparently not comprehending that the joke depends upon singing the song beautifully and sensitively. This may seem like a strange thing to say of the MC, but Cumming completely lacks subtlety, and the role demands it, behind the vulgarity. I think the word I'm looking for is deftness: Grey had it, while Cumming has fists of ham.

0 comments.


  • If I were granted the possibility of reading any present-day page -- this one, for example -- as it will be read in the year two thousand, I would know what the literature of the year two thousand would be like.
    - Jorge Luis Borges