STAGE REVIEW: Cabaret at the Festival Theatre, Malvern, from Tuesday, October 10, to Saturday, October 14, 2017.

HEAD back five years to 2012, a year when singer Will Young was nominated for an Olivier award for his West End performance as the enigmatic over-the-top master of ceremonies in this simply superb musical which is set mainly in the decadent Kit Kat Club in Berlin.

Now, in this Rufus Norris revived production, which opened in London and is currently touring the UK until December, Young has reprised his Emcee role to such stunning effect he once again deserves another Olivier award nomination.

Director Norris ensures the exhilaration of eccentricity and pace of perversions rarely slows down, apart from the moments of tenderness, sadness and hints of the terror beginning to emanate in Germany as the 1930s unfold.

The stirring and wonderfully evocative Tomorrow Belongs To Me offering a portent of the problems the world will face less than a decade away!

Katrina Lindsay’s wonderful design evokes the Weimar Berlin of 1931 in a country still scarred by the Great War.

It switches comfortably from dark and brooding to the bright lights of showbiz, a run-down boarding house right through to the over-the-top debauchery of the night club. And it’s here where the show’s choreographer, Javier De Frutos, ensures the dancing delights of the ‘boys and girls’ is full throttle energy and fully revealing in every sense of the word.

It’s now just over half-a-century on from when Joe Masteroff’s book was first performed as a stage musical with John Kander and Fred Ebb responsible for the music and lyrics respectively. That show had Joel Grey and Jill Howarth in the main roles and then it had Emcee as the focus, but when it came to the legendary 1972 Bob Fosse film the main story-line switched to Sally Bowles, a role played in wonderful style by Liza Minelli.

Grey continued in his role in the film and provided an iconic performance - probably one that is the yard-stick against whom everyone else is judged.

Now Will Young, who has been there and done it with a number of musical awards and successes, can justifiably stand side-by-side and bear comparison with his own devil-may-care Emcee, along with his brief but forbidding border guard moments.

Alongside him as the other star of the show is the former Eternal girl group member and solo singer, Louise Redknapp, who is on her stage debut tour.

She arrived as Sally hot on the heels of her appearance on television’s Strictly Come Dancing, and in order to land the part, she had three auditions - one lasting five hours.

She has since said: “For the first time in my life, I had to go for a real, proper audition and learn a script and act and put myself out there, for Rufus Norris at the National Theatre.

“It was one of the scariest things I’ve done, and the most intimidating, as they wanted to be certain that this was the right role for me to do, so I was put through my paces and I’m grateful for that.”

As someone who has said she always loved dancing, along with singing, acting is a new task and she’s delighted to have the opportunity to do all three.

There may be one or two things to learn on the acting front, but she gave it her all and she can certainly deliver a song - be it a belter or melancholic.

There’s more to come here.

Plenty of experience on the acting front elsewhere to provide excellent support from a strong cast including Nicholas Tizzard (Ernst Ludwig), Susan Penhaligon (Fraulein Schneider), Charles Hagerty (Clifford Bradshaw) and Linal Haft (Herr Schulz).

Put them in the mix with the Kit Kat’s scantily clad dancers and it’s a show that cannot go wrong.

The one great pity this week is that the Festival Theatre isn’t bigger. Just over 800 were packed into the auditorium for Tuesday’ opening night but they could have filled it twice over. So phenomenal has been the demand for tickets every single seat for the one week run has been sold and the waiting list for any returned tickets has grown considerably by the day.

Those of us lucky enough to see the show know we had great fun and were regally entertained - as the end of show response clearly demonstrated with a standing ovation, cheers and half-a-dozen curtain calls!

Something Malvern audiences are not usually renowned for but there was no mistaking their appreciation here.

If only Cabaret could come back again… and soon!