The players of Cabaret began the night by filtering in and out of the audience and making Club XY into what I would soon know to call the Kit Kat Klub. Not having seen this show previously, I naively thought them servers at the club and was intrigued by their dress.
The venue could not have been more perfect to house a show such as this one, and I honestly can say I wonder if I would have enjoyed it half as much in a classic theatre venue. Director Gerald Williams deserves praise for this staging, as it added an invaluable element to the evening.
The choreography from Lyndsey Britten started off a bit slow, but I saw confidence grow throughout as the players dancing chops were given the chance to shine. By the end of the first act, the energy on stage from numbers like “Money” was contagious. Audience participation at the beginning of the second act reinvigorated the place and helped us all forget our worries for a moment or two as we saw some of the more enthusiastic audience members dancing with the cabaret girls.
A clear standout performance was Gil Yaron as the Emcee. His energy never dipped, even as he transitioned from delightful master of ceremonies into something more sinister, just as Berlin dipped into the grasp of the Nazi Party. His impressive vocals and impeccable accent made him my favourite to watch.
I’ll raise a glass of gin as well to Stefanie Stanley, whose magnetic portrayal of the spiteful Frauleine Kost left me wanting more, thanks to her spot-on vocals and clear commitment to character. Sarah Seekamp as Sally Bowles wowed me in “Cabaret” (a song in the second act) and slurped down a raw egg like a champ. Max Smith as Cliff Bradshaw had a commendable performance as the voice of reason and American writer, visiting Berlin in hopes of finishing his novel.
Some Schnapps to Jacqollyne Keath and Charlie Deagnon as Frau Schneider and Herr Schultz respectively, whose individual performances were charming and got a big applause at the end. I would have liked to have seen more chemistry between the two actors, as their relationship arc was the most overtly related to the politics of the time and one I found myself very intrigued by.
This review would be remiss to not mention the show-stealing ensemble, who brought lots of character even with little or no lines or solos. Madison Simms, Sarah Moir, Terran Milne, and Krista Aggerholm all gave enticing performances with formidable stage presence. Max Hall and Vince Kanasoot as Bobby and Victor were delightful to watch. John Ennis Graham as the Nazi Ernst gave me chills due to his charisma and general appeal. His performance delivered most of the dark edge that made Cabaret so unique.
The show had a palpable energy that confirmed for me why Cabaret is such a well-respected musical. Placing this 50+ year old show in a hip, club-setting flung it into the 21st century with great results.
If you have an evening to spare, I absolutely implore you to spend some time at the Kit Kat Bar and catch this deliciously sexy and sinister production.
P.S. If anyone knows how to get wine out of a heavy winter jacket please reach out. The only downside I found with this venue is that the alcohol sure did flow freely… into my lap, thanks to my clumsy and very apologetic neighbour. Ah well, if I smell like white wine every winter from now on, I suppose there are worse things.
You have just a few more chances to catch Cabaret so don’t hesitate!
Sat Oct 21st Doors 2/ Curtain 3pm
Sat Oct 21st Doors 6/ Curtain 7pm
Sun Oct 22nd Doors 2/ Curtain 3pm