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Cabaret *
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  • Originally released in 1997, this take on Cabaret is something of an oddity. Although this is the complete score to a hugely popular Broadway musical, this version was not the cast album of a stage revival, but simply a collaboration between the actor/singers Toyah Willcox (best known both as lead singer of the minor new wave era synth-rock act Toyah and as Mrs. Robert Fripp) and Nigel Planer (a longtime fixture on the British stage, but now and forever most beloved for playing the spacy hippie Neil on the cult classic TV series The Young Ones). Those songs not sung in the original score by either Sally Bowles (Willcox) or The MC (Planer), such as the creepy ballad "Tomorrow Belongs to Me," are present here only as instrumentals, cheesily scored for clarinet and synthesizers. Planer and Willcox attack their own songs with gusto and collaborate playfully on the familiar "Money Money," and both singers do well by each character's signature song, Planer on the smarmy "Willkommen" and Willcox on the now-standard title track. But especially given that the plot of the musical is completely lost by the decision to ignore about half of the original lyrics, what exactly is the point of this pleasant but slight vanity production? ~ Stewart Mason
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