BWW Review: CABARET at Resident Theater Company
There is a pretty good argument to be made that producing Cabaret in 2019 is a matter of doing the right show at the right time. The show deals with themes of social injustice, and the potential consequences of looking the other way when bad things are happening to those around you. Sound familiar?
Christian Thomason stars as American, Clifford Bradshaw, a starving writer hopping about Europe looking for his big break. Thomason brings a sense of innocence, both in appearance and mannerism, to the character. He does a great job as serving as our "eyes and ears" in a literal and figurative foreign land of pre-WWII Berlin, Germany.
Adriana Milbrath serves as Clifford's love interest and cabaret singer, Sally Bowles. Bowles is a complex character and Milbrath pulls it off wonderfully. She switches from confident, to seductive, to vulnerable to needy on the turn of a dime. Milbrath does an excellent job of conveying emotion and thoughtfulness with her voice, especially when belting the show's eponymous tune.
Gordan Stanley and Audrey Federici play the older German couple in the show, Herr Schultz and Fraulien Schenider. They have good chemistry together and make us question the cliché that "loves conquers all".
I was somewhat disappointed by Jesse Manocherian's turn as the Emcee. The Emcee needs to be played with a sense of menace or dread. Even before events take a turn for the worst in Act 2, the vulgarities of the Emcee's songs and dance should make us feel very uncomfortable, even if we do not yet know the reason why. Unfortunately, I found this Emcee to be relatively harmless. I wanted more "Howard Stern" and less "Jimmy Fallon".
Director, Kristen McLaughlin Mitchell does a nice job of keeping the action moving. There is a lot of Act 1 exposition that needs to occur prior to a short, but powerful second act. The pacing of scenes worked well. The choice of bringing the orchestra on stage brings a sense of immediacy to the show, and heightens the illusion that we are patrons of the infamous Kit Kat Club.
The Resident Theater Company's Cabaret is a well produced, powerful piece of theater. This is a show that will stay with you long after the final curtain. Tickets and more information can be found here.