Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Cabaret

Cabaret (15-30 October 2004) [dir. Sarah Tacey]
Smith-Ritch Point Theatre, Ingram, Texas

If it looks too good to be true . . .

Review
It was early in the century. Trouble was brewing. A new patriotic wave was sweeping the country.

Life marched on. Love blossomed in unexpected places. Conversation ensued over the smallest of pleasures.

And in a tiny club tucked away on a small street, there was music, an emcee with an eye for the libidinous, dancing girls (and boys and simians), a beautiful orchestra, and furtive phone calls in the middle of the night. It was fun, and everyday folks were oblivious to the goings-on just outside the doors of the Cabaret. But why should they worry? Life was good.

Or was it?

In a time eerily reminiscent of the early part of the 21st century, 1930's Germany was awash in Nationalistic pride, and the populace bought easily into placing blame for the plummeting economy, immigration, and industrialization of the workforce, and was easily sold on the idea of saving the country from itself. Cabaret wasn't written as metaphor, but oh what this resoundingly successful musical has become!

So, there was this Cabaret in Berlin, and pleasures could be had, and pleasures were available for the price of a drink and some laughs. And it was the boys who provided the drink, the emcee who provided the laughs, and British chanteuse Sally Bowles who provided the pleasures.

And in wanders American novelist and vagabond Cliff Bradshaw, unwittingly providing material support along the way to someone he'll come to despise. And despite some proclivities he's trying to escape in order to rejuvenate his writing, he falls in love with the London songbird.

As love stories go, there's a little of everything - the sweet, the sordid, the uncertain, the unrequited. As musicals go, it's heart-rending bittersweet memory, foot-stomping über-catchy song, and searing, soaring irony. As history, it's the ultimate in stories unlearned.

So don't be afraid, meine Herr und Fraulein! Bienvenue, come sit in our little dive, drink some wine, smile at a dancegirl (or boy), laugh and sing along, and be prepared for a little trip through history.

The Point Theatre's version of the award-winning musical Cabaret stars Graham Douglass as the emcee, Tommie Howell as Sally Bowles, Ryan Bailey as Clifford Bradshaw, and a chorusline of Point regulars, irregulars, and newcomers as the denizens of the Cabaret and Fraulein Schneider's flophouse. Join them for a night of mesmerizing magic, melody and melancholy.

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