All reviews are written by Cappies student critics and edited by Cappies adult mentors prior to publishing.
“Willkommen, bienvenue, welcome to Cabaret!” A raunchy, seedy playhouse draped with gold streamers becomes a nightmarish world disguised as a dream where long-legged dancers line the tables, and sin is second nature. From the silver spiral staircase descends the Emcee, joining the on-stage jazz band and cast of Centreville High School's Cabaret for an evening of rich, dark allure.
This iconic musical, made famous by John Kander and Fred Ebb's jazzy score, and the 1972 Bob Fosse film that transformed Liza Minnelli into a household name, captures the mind-set of those who refuse to believe that the worst is yet to come. Set in the salacious Kit Kat Klub, the storyline focuses on cabaret singer Sally Bowles (Binta Barry) and her love interest, American writer, Cliff Bradshaw (Joshua Ewalt) during the time when the Nazis were rising to power. With several intertwining sub-plots, all overseen by the Emcee (Daniel Lindgren), the show is an intricate picture of personal turmoil and political upheaval.
Opening the musical and serving as the connecting thread, Lindgren transformed into the Emcee with heavily rouged cheeks, grandiose facial expressions, and a stage presence as bright as his sequined suit. Welcoming the audience into this licentious world with “Willkommen,” the giddy opening number, Lindgren set the upbeat tone. Joining him for the opening number were several tantalizing dancers, who dominated the stage with their high energy. Tackling the difficult Fosse choreography, the Kit Kat Girls created elegant stage pictures, and embodied risqué night life without tackiness.
Binta Barry, as singer Sally Bowles, evoked the mindless escapism of an aging woman trying to hold on to her flapper past. Her sweet portrayal of Sally was enhanced with small eye rolls and gestures that brought the character to life. Joshua Ewalt successfully played the fickle, conflicted writer, Cliff Bradshaw, caught between two worlds. His voice was pleasant and carried beautifully.
Driving a subplot of the show, Maddie Helms was the alluring Fräulein Kost, a hooker with perpetually disheveled hair and subtle comedic moments. Also notable was Marcus Schmidt, the misleadingly sweet Ernst Ludwig, who turns out to be the epitome of hateful change.
Technically, the show's set was beautifully constructed, ranging from the glamorous, gaudy nightclub, to the plain and practical boarding house. Scene transitions sometimes lagged due to the elaborateness and enormity of the set pieces. Similarly, there were several microphone and sound balance issues, but the actors projected sufficiently and the essence of the scenes was not lost.
Auf Wiedersehen! A bientot! Centreville High School's production of Cabaret ended with a bang from the live jazz band and two universally recognizable Nazi flags hanging from the ceiling. Riding a fine line between meaningful message and sensuous entertainment, Centreville fell right on mark, leaving the audience wondering if life really is a cabaret.