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BWW Reviews: Desert Stages Theatre's CABARET Lacks Oomph

The one good thing to be said about Desert Stages Theatre's production of Cabaret is Terry Gadaire. As the racy and suggestive Emcee of 1929 Berlin's Kit Kat Klub, he personifies the decadence and ultimately the pathos of a Germany descending through the gates of Hitlerian hell. Gadaire has been a consistently brilliant performer in Valley theatre, most recently delivering a tour de force reprise of his role as King Arthur in Fountain Hills Theater's Spamalot. Once again, he reveals his exemplary singing and acting chops.

If only the rest of the performances, with a couple of exceptions, were as convincing as his. Unfortunately, pitchy singing, uninspired and at times clumsy choreography, and flat acting make for a disappointing show.

Shari Watts is one of those exceptions. An exceptional actress in her own right, Ms. Watts effectively captures the tragic dilemma of Fräulein Schneider in a poignant rendition of an eerily timeless question, "What Would You Do?" Likewise, Corin Grimm, deliciously sinister as the ominous Fräulein Kost, foreshadows the inevitable in "Tomorrow Belongs To Me."

Based on Christopher Isherwood's book and the music and lyrics of the legendary team of John Kander and Fred Ebb, Cabaret first appeared on Broadway in 1966. Its story lines are well known and need not be repeated here. Forty-eight years later, it is enjoying another revival at the Roundabout Theatre Company in New York, and deservedly so, given the continued relevance of its themes. Because it is so worthy, it deserves to be played well. Sad to say, the Klub at DST lacks oxygen.

Cabaret, which opened on July 11th, runs through August 10th.

Photo credit: Heather Butcher

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