BWW Reviews: KAT'S CABARET is Rockin' and Eclectic and Fun...and I want more!
In a Canadian town like Stratford, Ontario that is known for formally presenting incredible live talent on a daily basis, it's always fun when some of those talented people involved (as well as their talented friends) come together for a less-formal celebration of all kinds of music (and even some dance). This is what current Stratford Festival performer Katrina Reynolds has put together for KAT'S CABARET; a series of cabarets that have taken place in Stratford this summer. Her more chilled, out, acoustic cabarets have been held at an intimate restaurant with a rustic feel (Montforte on Wellington), and for loud rock and roll themed cabarets, Molly Bloom's Irish Pub has been the venue of choice. The roster of performers is ever-changing and always impressive, allowing for a fun night out that no one should miss!
This reviewer had the opportunity to attend the most recent KAT'S CABARET at Montforte last week. A restaurant like Montforte is an excellent venue for a show like this. The rustic design, the tables that can be folded up and replaced by benches, and (of course) the presence of the bar, all allow for a great place for audience members to sit and relax while they watch some fantastic performances.
The setting already has an intimate feel, but Ms. Reynold's makes everything even more intimate and comfortable by quickly making everyone feel like she's an old buddy they've known forever. Performing a few times throughout the evening, and including fun anecdotes while introducing the other performers, Ms. Reynold's is the perfect host. Her bubbly personality and unique and powerful singing voice will make you want to come back for more. Her rendition of "What's Up" by 'Four Non-blonds' brought the house down, and had everyone singing along. This reviewer still has it stuck in my head (I'm OK with that).
Ms. Reynolds has a LOT of talented friends too. Like, a lot! Every single performer brought something unique and different, and several collaborated with each other to great effect. Robert Markus and Kira Guloien who are currently playing 'Tommy' and (his mom) 'Mrs. Walker' in "Tommy" performed a gorgeous duet cover version of Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean"; Gabe Antonacci (Who was also a guitarist in the band all night) performed an original song, as well as a fantastic rendition of Tina Turner's "Private Dancer" (written by Mark Knopfler). He also provided some excellent whistling accompaniment for talented local performer LINDSEY BURNS who performed two original country songs. Another Stratford Festival actor, ANDRE MORIN, proved to be quite the singer-songwriter and pianist, with two original pieces, and TESS BENGER, who played Liesl in Drayton Entertainment's "The Sound of Music" this summer in Grand Bend, dazzled first with the Beatles' "Oh Darling" and later with pop/jazz standard, "Autumn Leaves". Matt Alfano switched things up with some jaw-dropping tap skills, and Monique Lund played a mean kazoo to accompany herself for "New Year's Eve". Performer Laurin Padolina displayed a lovely singing voice and equally excellent guitar skills, and NICHOLAS NESBITT had the audience wrapped around his finger with the Phillip Phillips hit, "Gone Gone Gone". There was never a dull moment!
The house band-made up of Stratford Festival performers and musicians like Gabe Antonacci, GALEN JOHNSON, and MICHAEL MCCLENNAN was excellent despite having only one rehearsal (due to everyone's hectic schedules) with each cabaret performer! The fact that all these busy performers have dedicated their time to these shows is a testament to Ms. Reynolds' talent, vision for her show, and the simple fact that it looks like a whole lot of fun!
If you are a fan of artists being artists in a space where they are encouraged to try new things, share original pieces, and/or rock out to some of their favourite music...then you should get yourself to KAT'S CABARET!