Cabaret By John Kander and Fred Ebb
Directed by Justin Scarlat
Choreographed by Ryan Skrocki
Starring Matty Hixon, Dorothy Massey and Zachary Tranter
Breakthrough Theatre, Winter Park Fl</strong>
So there I was, sitting alone in my room thinking: “Why not go to zee cabaret?” So I went. The girls were beautiful. The orchestra was beautiful. Heck, even the audience was beautiful. And the show itself? Generally good, with a few rough spots. This story could happen to any of us – Sally Bowles (Massey) left home to sing in a dive Berlin club and sleep with whatever abuse men she can find. Cliff Bradshaw (Tranter) bums around Europe trying to overcome writer’s block and a penchant for ambiguous trysts in London clubs. He meet’s Ernst Ludwig, (James Cougar Canfield) an up and coming Nazi looking for pigeons to courier suitcases from Paris. Their tough-as-nails landlady Fräulein Schneider’s (Nolarae Stein) encamps them all in her house of declining repute while they hang out at the Kit Kat Club with the Emcee (Hixon). When Sally gets pregnant again, her choices are flee with Cliff or trust the Weimar government to protect her as she sings a big blow out closer. You know the rest.
My favorite actor hands down was Canfield; he was fawning and scary and had more stage presence than anyone else. Ms. Massy was a surprisingly strong singer as well as a flighty airhead, and when it was time for here to belt, belting occurred. Tranter’s Cliff reminded me of Kevin Bacon in Animal House, he was an inoffensive guy stuck in a tough place trying to do the right thing. Marty Radner was touching as the Jewish fiancé of Fraulein Schneider, and Brain Rewis was a hulking presence as he attempted to furtively leave his date with Frau Kost (Tara Rewis). The Kit Kat Girls were all from a local burlesque troupe and they knew what they were about when it came to suggestive wiggling. Less successful was Hixon’s Emcee, he didn’t always project and never felt jaded or smirky enough although I did enjoy his drag version of “I Don’t Care Much”. The staging suffered from an overload of prop movement, the set was effective enough but there we long periods of moving doors and setting up the bed / bar. This is a good “Cabaret” but not a great one, with well delivered music and actors willing to drink raw eggs every performance.
For more information, please visit http://www.breakthroughtheatre.com or look them up on Facebook.