Thursday, 18 April 2013

Musical Project: Best Supporting Actor 1972: Joel Grey - Cabaret

Cabaret is a very strange musical. It's very well made and directed, but the topic of it is so serious, that it's not as enjoyable, as musicals usually are.
Joel Grey plays the Emcee in Cabaret, which is a role much more typical for musicals. Though some of his songs are about a serious topic, they are in a very easy-to-watch mood and he even handles them as they were nothing of serious.
The Emcee (or The Master of Ceremonies) is a very theatrical character. He doesn't have a single scene, in which he would react as himself. It's a person that confers and introduces the cabaret and therefore he's always acting. We never know how he really is. It's not because of Grey, his character just doesn't have a single scene that would allow him to go into the depth.
Therefore it's not the best character for the film. In the theatre we can have a show filled with only such characters. But in the film it's not very usual and not even the best thing to do. But in Grey's hands you almost forget this fact.
He has only got four bigger scenes and all of them are musical numbers.
The first one is the very first number of the film and it's called 'Willkommen'. This song should get us into the mood and the atmosphere of the film. And Grey succeeded in doing this. He's funny and he sings extremely well. This scenes teases us, so that we want to see more of the film.
The second one is 'Money'. He shares this scene with Liza Minnelli and they have a great chemistry together. This would probably be Grey's best scene. I don't know if I'm being subjective, because I've seen this number long before seeing the film and I loved from the first second, but this is just an adorable song and number. Both of the actors never failed to be funny and extremely entertaining.
The third scene is 'Two Ladies'. I liked it enough, though it's not somehow favorite of mine. He did what was needed to and wasn't worse than in the rest of the film.
The fourth (and the last big scene) of him is 'If You Could See Her Through My Eyes'. This is the second best scene of Grey, very close after 'Money'. He has to act he is in love with the monkey. He did it so wonderfully that it is not hard to believe he really loves it. He's got a short monologue in the middle of this number, in which he talks about love itself. It's so much powerful, I really felt the catharsis.
Though it's not the best performance in a musical I've ever seen, it could be the prototype of a musical performance. It's filled with songs and dances and the great energy Grey has given into it...

1 comment:

  1. Great performance, the most "performance" based performance ever nominated.