13/10/2010 - 13/11/2010
The 2010 Wellington Season of Kander & Ebb’s Musical: Cabaret
Wellington Music Academy in support of The Life Flight Trust welcomes you to the 2010 Wellington Production of Kander and Ebb’s Cabaret.
Berlin, 1930. “Wilkommen! Bienvenue! Welcome!” sings the devilish and derisive Emcee of the sleazy, sexy and glittering Kit Kat Klub as young American writer Clifford Bradshaw is slowly sucked into the debauched, decadent and desperate lifestyle of the Club, its provocatively giddy star (Sally Bowles) and the insidious rise of Nazism.
This musical reveals a world of voluptuous panic on the brink of disaster. Featuring unforgettable songs such as: Mein Herr, Money Makes the World Go Around, Maybe This Time and Cabaret, a sensational cast and mind blowing dance routines this production will be the talk of the town.
This is a charitable production, with 100% of profit going towards the Life Flight Trust Air Ambulance and Rescue Helicopter service http://www.lifeflight.org.nz. Put simply, our aim for the season is to make enough money to save at least 25 lives. Help us achieve our goal of a $72,000 donation (or put another way, 29 lives saved) by booking your tickets today.
The show has a sensational cast and the production is of a very high quality, with many local businesses being extremely generous with their products and expertise for the project.
Wed 13 Oct to Sat 13 Nov 2010
8pm performances with a 2pm matinee on 13 November
The Garden Club View map
$60 Book Now
Venue: The Garden Club
13b Dixon St, Wellington City
+64 4 381 2341
2hrs 30 mins, incl. interval
Sally’s flight from life supports Life Flight
Review by John Smythe 14th Oct 2010
Given all the profits from this month-long ‘charitable production’ go to The Life Flight Trust (with extensive sponsorship covering the production costs), I felt there’s be a moral dilemma in reviewing it … Fortunately it is an excellent ‘boutique’ production of a show it’s good to revisit from time to time, if only to put those memorable popular songs back in their proper context.
The intimacy of The Garden Club, with its bar up the back, suits the cabaret setting very well, avoiding the ‘big stage musical’ feel and harnessing, instead, the sense of a tawdry little dive in a Berlin side street as, in 1930, that city descends into the darkness brought by the rise of the Nazi Party.
It’s interesting to see Cabaret just a few months after I am a Camera, in which it is based, which in turn was dramatised from Christopher Isherwood’s stories. The character line-up is significantly different, some have just been given different names and some with the same names have significant shifts in character.
Yet the essence of the story remains, as does its purpose: to provoke us to ponder us where we would stand when the line is drawn between hedonistic decadence and concern for the human rights of others. Do we take responsibility for what we’re a party to, leave all that to The Party or just mindlessly party on.
Matthew Pike’s superb singing voice whispers, hisses, snakes, soars and roars from his ‘reptile rampant’ Emcee, variously writhing with seductive physicality and posturing defiantly. Is he an evil genius or just the messenger; an amoral narrator or and active facilitator of human degradation? The ambiguities keep us guessing, just as they should.
The sexual ambiguity of Glenn Horsfall’s splendidly conservative Cliff Bradshaw is given a good nudge by Hans Landon-Lane’s Bobby and Eli Joseph’s Victor, while Bradford Muerk’s charm and hospitality as Ernst Ludwig turns wonderfully chilling when his fascism is revealed.
Jody McCartney gives us a Sally Bowles who is amoral and apolitical in her pursuit of pleasure; a privileged English gel abroad, determined to escape her predictable destiny but ill-equipped to cope with what’s coming. There is nothing of the Minelli-esque neurotic about her, she simply wants a good time, to be loved and to avoid politics. Her inevitable loss of innocence is powerfully rendered in the final ‘Cabaret’, sung with a profoundly deep emptiness.
Felicity Cozens commands great empathy with Frau Schneider’s desire to keep out of trouble and Chris Green makes Herr Schultz’s simple generosity and need for companionship loveable. Karen Anslow delights in Frau Kost’s insatiable taste for sailors then makes us think twice about her harmlessness with Tomorrow Belongs to Me.
The male cast is ably completed by Jared Pallesen (Hans & Rudy) and Kesava Beaney (Herman & Max), both in their vignettes and in the Kit Kat Club ensemble (with Landon-Lane and Joseph).
Choreographed by Emily Down, who also plays a stony-faced Helga, the Kit Kat girls – Lulu (Danielle Booth), Fritzie (Jasmyne Chung), Texas (Debbie Fish), Frenchie (Sheree Moanaroa) and Rosie (Greer Samuel) – capture the decadent raunchiness of their chorus line with extraordinary skill while giving us glimpses of their individual natures. Their transformation into a regimented force is also spine-chilling.
Impeccably cast, the whole company sings and moves with professional excellence. Musical director Kate Marshall heads up an excellent hard-working band of eight, tucked in under the upper level of Serena Hastie’s compact set of steps, doors and a picture frame. I wondered about the use of head-mics in such a small space but with a largely electronic band I suppose a controlled mix is necessary, and on the second night the balance is good.
Paddy Hellett’s lighting design, Mike Diamond’s sound design and Tanisha Wardle’s follow spot operation all serve the show well. Special mention, too, to the backstage team who, under stage manager Cheryl Moeau, set and strike stage props with great efficiency.
This Cabaret is well worth going to, trust me. The bonus is that in tuning into Sally Bowles attempted flight from life’s harsher realities, you will support the Life Flight Trust.
Copyright © in the review belongs to the reviewer
Life is a cabaret even in small scale
Review by Laurie Atkinson [Reproduced with permission of Fairfax Media] 14th Oct 2010
Cabaret, which opened on Broadway back in 1966, would have probably faded away like most musicals if it hadn’t been for the phenomenal success of the 1972 movie. Since then it has been revived many times and tinkered with by many hands, most notably by English director Sam Mendes.
Lindsay Rusling has wisely, considering the minute stage at The Garden Club, used many of the changes that Sam Mendes instituted in his 1993 production such as an Emcee who is the total opposite to Joel Grey’s brilliantined, rose-bud lipped, reptilian entertainer that he made famous on Broadway and on film.
Matthew Pike’s highly energized Emcee is a brazenly sexual, obstreperous and unpleasant character who wanders in and out of his cabaret world and unseen into the lives of the inhabitants of Frau Schneider’s boarding house to startling effect particularly when some Nazis throw a brick through a window and when Schneider (Felicity Cozens) and her beau Herr Schultz (Chris Green in a lovely performance) rhapsodize over a pineapple.
What doesn’t quite work in this production (the size of the stage is the problem) is that the world of ordinary Berliners (including the two outsiders, American writer Cliff and English singer Sally Bowles) and the limbo world (Harold Prince’s description) of the cabaret are muddled so that the Nazi ascendancy over ordinary lives seems to be inevitable from the start and the playing of Tomorrow Belongs to Me on a gramophone by the Emcee leaves one confused and one has to remember the film to remind one what it is all about.
Jody McCartney makes Sally Bowles a bit too sensible and her green finger nails and prairie oyster cocktails seem like fashion statements rather than odd ball eccentricities. She sings the title song with a riveting rawness and bitterness that belie to some extent Sally’s moral and intellectual vacuity. However, it is a strong, well sung performance that is matched by Glenn Horsfall’s Cliff who makes something of a nothing role.
The Kit Kat girls and boys do wonders with their dancing (choreography Emily Down) on the tiny stage and are most impressive when they slowly turn into foot-stamping Nazis in the reprise of Tomorrow Belongs to Me.
But why, o why, were microphones used for such a small space and only an excellent seven-piece band supporting the singers? As usual the volume for nearly all the songs was way too loud and when any one kissed extraneous noises resulted.
All the proceeds from the production, which has been supported by Techtonics and other local businesses, will be donated to Life Flight Trust.
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