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I Am A Camera

Isherwood BC (Before Cabaret)


Long-term readers of GT will be aware of our love of all things Christopher Isherwood – most recently rekindled due to the BBC movie starring Matt Smith (you can still pick up a copy of our special issue here)

The London revival of John Van Druten’s I Am a Camera, based on Isherwood’s Goodbye To Berlin memoirs (though with Cabaret and now Christopher and His Kind it’s all become a bit of a beautiful blur), now joins that list of things we love.

How could we not – the tale of how Isherwood first meets Sally Bowles (in real life, Jean Ross, though that’s not addressed here) is brought to life in London’s Southwark Playhouse with such joy and enough second-hand cigarette smoke to make you feel that you’re almost in the now-famous Berlin boarding rooms of 1932.

Harry Melling should not be eclipsed by his involvement with the Harry Potter movies – his performance as Isherwood is wonderful. There have been comparisons to Matt Smith’s recent portrayal of the writer, which can only be a good thing – Smith spent a long time perfecting the interpretation and if Melling is in any way ‘Doctor-like’, we say line him up as the next incarnation of the Time Lord. Put simply, he’s brilliant. And yes, exceptionally handsome to boot.

Rebecca Humphries is delightfully barmy as Sally Bowles, putting her own spin on a role that’s firmly embedded in the public consciousness for being played by someone else. Humphries makes the role her own, almost as though she was destined to wear the period clothing and green nail varnish.

While the cast are all exceptional – Joanne Howarth’s Fraulein Schneider gets most of the laughs – it’s Melling and Humphries that understandably steal the show, their chemistry together is superb.

4/5
Runs until 22 September, Southwark Playhouse, London – details and tickets here.

And if you want to see Matt Smith getting jiggy with another fella you should really watch this.

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