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This sex is on fürher

PUBLISHED: 17:11 30 April 2009 | UPDATED: 17:14 16 August 2010

HAT'S HOW IT'S DONE: Samantha Barks in fine voice as Sally Bowles.

HAT'S HOW IT'S DONE: Samantha Barks in fine voice as Sally Bowles.

I M not sure what it is that makes a musical truly great, but whatever it is, Cabaret has it in abundance, writes Mark Campbell. The UK tour starring Wayne Sleep and Samantha Barks, runner-up in the BBC s talent show I d Do Anything, came fully formed to

I'M not sure what it is that makes a musical truly great, but whatever it is, Cabaret has it in abundance, writes Mark Campbell.

The UK tour starring Wayne Sleep and Samantha Barks, runner-up in the BBC's talent show I'd Do Anything, came fully formed to the Churchill Theatre, Bromley, last week following its West End run.

It really is amazing to behold. If you've only seen the film, this version will leave you gasping with surprise and delight.

Moments of coy nudity aside, it is the simmering sensuality and dark eroticism of the pre-Nazi permissive era that is so brilliantly captured in Rufus Norris' tightly focused production. The whole thing is enormously sexy. And what's supremely clever is the way in which the allure of Fascism is made to seem just an extension of the city's fascination with extremism.

Sex and death are never far from each other.

The eroticised tableau of naked Aryans that ends Act I, backdrop to Theo Cook's chilling rendition of Tomorrow Belongs to Me, contrasts sharply with the tableau of shivering naked Jews in the gas chamber during the closing moments.

Wayne Sleep, now 60, brings a stiff malevolence to the part of Emcee. Whilst he rarely exhibits any of the balletic moves he was once famous for, he prowls the stage like a diminutive PVC-clad ghoul.

At a mere 18 years old, Samantha Barks is surprisingly good as cabaret singer Sally Bowles, a role made famous by Liza Minnelli.

She can certainly belt out a tune - Cabaret itself was a showstopper - and her voluptuous figure and big baby eyes make her the centre of attention.

Matt Zimmerman is charming as elderly grocer Schultz, extolling the virtues of pineapples in the wistfully romantic It Couldn't Please Me More.

Equally charming is Jenny Logan as Fraulein Schneider, the object of his affections.

Javier De Frutos' gravity-defying choreography is remarkable, Tom de Keyser's musicians bring out the best in Kander and Ebb's scintillating score, and the overall design is hugely impressive without being overblown.

A must-see.

* The next show at the Churchill Theatre is Cinderella on Ice from 12-16 May. Tickets: 0870 060 6620.

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