“There was a cabaret, and there was a master of ceremonies, and there was a city called Berlin, in a country called Germany and it was the end of the world.”
This Big Apple Production of Cabaret is a superb adaptation of one of the great Broadway musicals of all time – an exhilarating and acutely harrowing masterpiece. The Kit Kat Club is a carnival of debauchery and despair and serves as a metaphor for ominous political developments.
Producer and musical director Melina Schein, and director Neal Facey, really understand this production and what they want to give to the audience. Together, they present an intelligent but superbly entertaining piece which presents the story in a way in which the audience is completely engaged and the links they have created between the Kit Kat Club and 1931 Germany is astonishing.
Brian Martin is the soul of the show. His naughty, biting performance redefines the role of the Klub’s Emcee and endows the character with his sense of mischief and urgency that will leave you riveted, from the moment he introduces a deliciously bawdy “Willkommen” to his final, chilling adieu.
Amelia Sirianni, as Sally Bowles, is convincingly lost, a wanna-be bad girl who sings at the Klub, leading the Kit Kat girls and boys in nightclub production numbers like Don’t Tell Mama and Mein Herr.
Craig Howard is appealing as Sally’s unlikely lover, Clifford Bradshaw, a simple American “Yankee Doodle” who aspires to be a writer. Howard adds so much to the story and is an outstanding leading man.
A most endearing plot line is the love story between Fraulein Schneider (Julie Armitage) as the landlady and Herr Schultz (Gil Wright), as her Jewish suitor. Their performances are forceful and touching, and Brittany Wright is vividly bawdy as Fräulein Kost, a whore with a heart of stone. She sings the show’s arguably most chilling number at the end of Act 1 with near religious zeal.
Peter Byrnes, who plays Ernst Ludwig, also does a brilliant and chilling acting job in his portrayal of a manipulative German politician. Finally, the show would not be complete without the Kit Kat Girls and Boys setting the fun-loving scene of the Klub.
Cabaret runs at Vernon’s Powerhouse Theatre until June 17. The remaining shows are sold out.