Review "Cabaret": Slutty Bash with A Beat

The Hypocrites present
CABARET

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At DCA Theatre, 66 E. Randolph
Book by Joe Masteroff
Lyrics by Fred Ebb
Music by John Kander
Musical direction by Mike Przygoda
Directed by Matt Hawkins
Thru May 23rd
Buy Tickets
Running Time:  Two and a half hours with two ten minute intermissions.

Reviewed by Katy Walsh

What good is sitting alone in your room? Come hear the music playThe Hypocrites, in conjunction with DCA Theatre, present CABARET, a musical set in Berlin pre-Nazi rule.  An American writer stumbles into a world of drugs, drinks and debauchery at The Kit Kat Club.  It's the carefree days of sexual experimentation for pleasure or profit.  The sexually aggressive Kit Kat emcee leads the dancers in straddling, groping, and thrusting to arouse their audience into an erotic adventure.  The writer hooks up with a free-spirited cabaret singer.  The wild nights of partying come to a climax as the Nazi regime gains momentum in its domination.  The party starts and ends at the cabaret as the superior race selection does not include Jews, gays and any anti-government sentiment. 

And as for me, I made up my mind back in Chelsea, When I go, I'm going like Elsie...

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Lindsay Leopold (Sally) is delightful as the carefree, gin-swilling, free-loving partier.   Leopold belts out a poignant rendition of "Maybe This Time" but later is disappointingly timid in the signature "Cabaret" song.  Jessie Fisher (the emcee) is surprisingly understated in the familiar over-the-top role.  Not quite raunchy, Fisher is definitely sassy reserved.  Initially, Fisher's singing was difficult to understand either because of muffled audio equipment or the German accent.  In defining moments of insolence, Fisher goes from singing light-hearted "If you could see her" to doomed "I don't care much" within a few scenes.  Michael Peters (Cliff) looks so much like the dreamy All-American football player, it's a bit shocking when he sings... and very well!  In the secondary plot, Kate Harris (Schneider) is the spinster landlady.  Maybe its DCA's acoustics but Harris' initial song "So What" seems a little garbled but later she executes with powerful conviction, "What would you do?"  Her romantic entanglements with Jim Heatherly (Schultz) are standout moments of old -fashion courting within the show's risqué decadence.  Among the energetic talented ensemble, Dana Tretta (Lucy) has a memorable number as a dancing monkey.

Start by admitting, From cradle to tomb, Isn't that long a stay...  Speaking of a long stay, there are two intermissions for this two act show.  It's odd.  There aren't any scenery changes.  The house lights come up and there is confusion to if this is a second intermission or the end.  Along with audio issues, the clunky timing leads to awkward foreplay that derails from a thoroughly pleasurable climax.

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No use permitting, some prophet of doom, To wipe every smile away.  Come hear the music play...CABARET is all about the music written by Fred Ebb and John Kander and directed in this production by Mike Przygoda.  In particular, "The Money Song" has the frolicking, happy-go-lucky energy of the partying subculture.  This number especially showcases Alison Siple's talents (costume designer) with a gaudy, dollar dress along with the wicked adorned chorus clad in corsets, short-shorts, and fishnet stockings. The music and costumes give CABARET an oomph for a slutty bash with a beat.  Sometimes it's not about building a superior race, it's just about enjoying the raunchy party.  Life is a Cabaret, old chum, Come to the Cabaret.

An old chum for many years, James describes the show as "missed musical connections."

WAITING FOR THE SHOW
Come taste the wine, Come hear the band.  Come blow your horn, Start celebrating; Right this way, Your table's waiting...  Maybe not quite waiting because tables are full at the very popular, The Gage, 24 S. Michigan.  It's Friday at 6pm and The Gage is enjoying an abundant after-work and pre-theatre crowd.  The dining room wait is an hour and half. (Reservations are available.)  In the bar, I table stalk for a mere three minutes.  The efficient bussers clear the table in seconds.  Before I have my coat off, the server has welcomed me and brought menus.  Not knowing how efficient the bar handles a crowd, I order a Malbec and James a Guinness.  James arrives within five minutes.  By the time, I announce I ordered his beer.  It is on the table!  We follow up drinks with a trio of small plates.  The mussels arrives first a hearty portion with an au jus with hints of cinnamon and curry.  Next, it smoked salmon with pumpernickel biscuits and the goat cheese onion tart. It's trifecta perfection!   I immediately text Roger to suggest we dine pre-STOMP next week at The Gage.   For the service, the food and the very handsome owner Billy Lawless... put down the knitting, the book and the broom. Time for a holiday. Life is Cabaret, old chum, Come to... The Gage!

 

CABARET photos courtesy of John W. Sisson, Jr.

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