Stage Musicals Society’s latest production of Cabaret certainly delivers the high kicks expected of SMS. However the surface spectacle could not distract from the hollowness at the heart of this production.
Cabaret follows a young American writer, Clifford ‘Cliff’ Bradshaw (Michael Ahomka-Lindsay), on his first trip to Berlin. On the train he meets Ernst Ludwig (Shay Kennedy), who inducts him into the nightlife of the city. At the Kit Kat Club Cliff meets Sally Bowles (Emma Hooker), an English girl, and the two strike up a relationship. Lurking behind every scene is the omnipresent, Master of Ceremonies (Jake Pratt), whose glee grows with the breakdown of the characters’ lives and who beckons on the rising spectre of Nazism.
It must be said that the most compelling performance was given by Indeera Shankla and Robert Heffer, in the roles of Fräulein Schneider and Herr Schultz.
It must be said that the most compelling performance was given by Indeera Shankla and Robert Heffer, in the roles of Fräulein Schneider and Herr Schultz. Their love story was sweet without being overly sentimental and the chemistry between Shankla and Heffer was a delight to behold. I was noticeably less moved by the protagonists Cliff and Sally. Though Emma Hooker and Michael Ahomka-Lindsay gave admirable performances, and Hooker’s rendition of ‘Cabaret’ was excellent, there was never a moment when I believed that an attraction existed between them. The decision to transform ‘Maybe This Time’ into a duet turned the song from a desperate plea for a change in fate, to a scene of sentimental romance.
However what I felt was missing from this production was a true sense of the seediness of the world which Cabaret inhabits.
The ensemble scenes showcased some impressive dance moves; the opening number really set the show off with a bang. However what I felt was missing from this production was a true sense of the seediness of the world which Cabaret inhabits. The dancers were a little too polished, their dance numbers were more West End than night club. Cabaret is not a world of glitz and glamour; it is a room shrouded in cigarette smoke, where the lace is torn and the makeup smudged.
Overall Cabaret provides an enjoyable evening.
(Image Courtesy of Stage Musicals Society)