I Am A Camera
Until Sat Sep 22 2012
© Nicolai Kornum
Time Out rating:
Time Out says
Mon Sep 10 2012
In 1939, as the lights went out again all over Europe, Christopher Isherwood published his record of their last flicker: the divine decadence of the 1930s Weimar Republic, where misfits partied into the dawn of Nazi darkness. His 'Goodbye to Berlin' was adapted in 1951 into this snapshot.
In a tawdry Berlin room, Isherwood the narrator struggles to become the camera of the title (quite passive, recording, not thinking) as characters pass before his lens: beautiful, rich Jew Natalia; Fritz, the broke playboy who loves her; landlady Fraulein Schneider; and Sally Bowles, cabaret star, self-declared slut and inept opportunist, who becomes Isherwood's friend.
Harry Melling, once Harry Potter's cousin Dudley Dursley, is excellent as the flaccid author. But Rebecca Humphries struggles in the shadow of Liza Minnelli, who played Sally in the 1972 film adaptation, 'Cabaret'. This coy play cringes beneath the jackboot of history, and 'Cabaret' tap-dances on its grave.
There's no trace of Isherwood's homosexuality, and the appearance of Sally's mother shoves us from Berlin's underworld into the British drawing room – a narrow escape, perhaps, for those who managed it in reality but, for an audience, a step too far out of the hot homicidal glare of the Third Reich.