That the D.C. Space revival of "Cabaret" is sometimes engaging is quite an accomplishment, considering that nobody in the cast can sing.

Based on Christopher Isherwood's Berlin Stories, the show is set in German cafe society as the Nazis begin their climb. Playing the nightclub's seedy charm against the brutality of the streets, "Cabaret" is powerful musical drama that can't be done halfway.

The D.C. Space production starts promisingly enough as emcee Grover Gardner and his Kit Kat Girls, including a tacky temptress in drag, bid an appropriately low-camp welcome. Gardner manages to project both mischief and world-weariness, and things pick up whenever he gets the spotlight.

But in between come such knotty matters as dialogue and drama, talky and flat in this production, and solo numbers, which aren't helped much by sounds of vocal cords straining.

The program, meanwhile, advises the audience to rise during the show's Nazi hymm, Tomorrow Belongs to Me, and to sing along on the last verse -- "for the purpose of experiencing the atmosphere of the cabaret more completely." That still doesn't seem like such a hot idea.

CABARET -- At D.C. Space, 7th & E Streets NW, through July 31. Tickets $6.50. Call 347-1445.