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Review Roundup: What Did Critics Think of CABARET at Olney Theatre Center?

Review Roundup: What Did Critics Think of CABARET at Olney Theatre Center?

The critics came to the Cabaret, old chum! Olney Theatre Center's production of Cabaret starring Alexandra Silber recently opened, with the first reviews being published.

In 1929 Berlin, Cliff arrives to work on his novel but finds himself swept up in the life of the cabaret with its bawdy Emcee, and swept away by the performer and provocateur Sally Bowles. Bunked together at Fräulein Schneider's boarding house, their impossible affair bumps up against the threatened love between their landlord and a Jewish fruit seller. From the opening notes of "Willkommen" through the title song and such classics as "Don't Tell Mama" and "Money," Cabaret delivers a raw theatrical experience on a knife's edge between unbridled sexuality and looming disaster.

Read what the critics had to say!

Steve Charing, OUTSpoken: Aside from the eye-pleasing aesthetics and solid sound design by Matt Rowe, the entire cast makes this production soar with their acting and vocal talents. The show's lead is Mason Alexander Park as the puckish Emcee of the Kit Kat Klub. Wearing macabre makeup and flamboyant and at times revealing costumes, the Emcee, the personification of unfettered sexual freedom, is inserted in multiple scenes to offer his take on events mainly through song. And it is clear that the mood of this commentary gets progressively darker over time to coincide with the plot.

Whitney Fishburn, DC Metro Theater Arts: Alexandra Silber's showgirl Sally Bowles proffers her cynical but sensitive self to Gregory Maheu's wide-eyed and quite likable Pennsylvanian, Clifford Bradshaw. Maheu is commendable in handling his character's epiphany around the gathering Nazi storm, moderating his righteous indignance so that we can relate to it rather than hear it as just another extreme point of view.

Silber capably sings the showstoppers, including the delightful "Don't Tell Mama." Her "Maybe This Time" is harsher and more cynical than I think is appropriate to the character's mindset in that moment, but that is less a quibble than an observation. By the time Silber gets to "Cabaret", however, Sally's utter sense of shame and defeat is appropriate, emphasized by how costume designer Kendra Rai drapes Sally from head to toe in scarlet sateen so that virtually no skin shows, as though Hester Prynn were a Berliner. Sally's canary yellow character shoes peeking out like dinner rolls from under the hem adds an inspired stroke of absurdity.

Photo Credit: Stan Barouh

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