January 29th, 2018
Review by Tony Carter, Showbill.ca Staff Writer
Cabaret is a story about love, sex, and sexuality against a political background. Or at least it is until the end of the first half when that political background becomes the foreground. It is a show about a show designed to be transgressive: one whose setting of 1930s Berlin is shockingly appropriate for the current political climate. It wants you to take your hat off, to leave your coat at the door and forget your troubles—at least until those troubles become too big to ignore.
This may sound frustratingly vague. That is intentional. The show does an excellent job through charming performances and pacing of making the audience comfortable, right up until the moment that it doesn’t. That the audience was shocked into a palpable silence for about 12 seconds going into the intermission should be a testament to the effectiveness of the technical aspects of the production.
To avoid spoilers, the bulk of this review is instead going to sing the praises of the cast. The majority of the performers on stage were also part of the College’s production of The Old Curiosity Shop (check out our review of that here), and it was a real treat to see how they have grown in such a short period of time. Most of the cast will also be graduating in two weeks’ time, and they are without a doubt ready for bigger things. The entire Kit Kat ensemble nailed their choreography and worked wonderfully together to harmonize on some of the compositions. Kristina Roberts played the master of ceremonies (a role made famous by Alan Cumming) and turns in an admirable performance. There are a wealth of impressive voices on display, with Keelin O’Hara, Amy Martin, and Jasmine Toombs earning special recognition, but it’s Roberts who really steals the spotlight with one of her final numbers.
Vinny Keats and Willie Knauff turn in versatile performances again, with Keats especially being given the opportunity to show his range between the kind Herr Shultz and ruthless Max. If there were an award for “most improved” though then Colin Milne would win it. After turning in a comparatively weak performance in Curiosity Shop, he has grown into a real performer who stands out on stage even alongside his talented peers.
Cabaret is worth seeing if only for the performances and the effort that went into the production. It really feels as if the cast and crew resolved to do as much as they could with what little they had access to. The fact that the story is uncomfortably applicable to the current political climate in North America is just an added bonus.
The Bottom Line
Cabaret is sexy, transgressive show that lulls you into feeling content right before slapping you across the face. Company C has shown that they are ready to move on to bigger things, and you would be crazy not to look out for their names in bigger productions very soon.
January 26 through February 3rd
CCPA Performance Hall
Note: This event contains sexual content.