Cabaret is one of those musicals that goes a bit against expectations. When you hear musical you may think love, uplifting songs, and jazz hands. You don’t necessarily think dark satire and Nazi’s. Cabaret is also a show that I certainly should have seen in my 36 years. Sure I’ve seen the film (totally different by the way than the stage version) and yes I recall a clip here and there from when Alan Cummings played the emcee in the 1998 Broadway revival, but somehow a live production of this show has escaped me. Until this past Saturday night that is.
Sunnyvale Community Players puts on quite the show in their 250 seat theatre. This is a sufficiently dark production that highlights an authentic Weimar feel. Our introduction to the kit kat girls is a bit of a shock, with women of all shapes, sizes, persuasions, and stages of undress. Check your inhibitions at the door, the actors certainly did. This true abandonment of modern decorum sets a smokey, slightly scandalous and raw tone for the production which initially almost repulses us but, by doing so, helps to strategically draw us into the historical world of the play.
They sounded great, both pit and performers. They presented a solid, consistent, well staged version. Choreography was certainly suitable, matching the moves to the talent to pull them off. Standouts for me were a charming and committed Herr Schultz (Matt Tipton) and a compelling and creepy Emcee (Paul Araquistain). There were a lot of positives, but for me it was missing a certain spark. Missing that x-factor. Nothing wrong, nothing I disliked, just nothing that grabbed me either.
And so, 4 jewels out of 5 in the Artsalot tiara for this production. You have two more weeks to catch Cabaret, it closes May 15th.