Based on Christopher Isherwood’s film I Am a Camera, John Kander and Fred Ebb’s Cabaret has been a musical staple everywhere, helping in its own way to remind the world the atrocities of the Nazi regime, a piece of history which is is alarmingly becoming less in this generation.
Canada’s latest iteration is brought to us by New Westminster’s Royal City Musical Theatre, as its 29th offering.
Directed by Vancouver’s celebrated theatre director, Valerie Easton, Cabaret does not give us the grit and seediness of Sam Mendes’ version, the production that has been synonymous with the musical in the last 20 years, however, Eastons’ version does not fall short on the raunch and distress that the musical wants the audience to feel.
Backed by a very strong cast that includes a mix of professional and community actors, Andrew Cownden’s Emcee distanced itself from popular renditions, giving the character a more relate able personality that complimented the Kit Kat Club’s performers very well you can really feel the anticipation for their next number. While Cownden gave us something new, Lauren Bowler as Sally Bowles gave us something familiar that balanced the fresh and the tried-an-tested. Bowler’s take allowed us to take a break from the gloom of the theme and the anxiety of what’s unfolding.
Musical Director James Bryson successfully brought the Kander and Ebb score to its full hair-raising perfection. Big props to the orchestra for delivering crisp sounds makes you hear each instrument being featured without overpowering each other.
Showcasing one of her best yet, Easton’s Cabaret will take you back, will make you think, will make you aware of what’s happening in the present time. Royal City Musical Theatre’s latest offering is definitely not one to miss!
Cabaret continues to play at the Massey Theatre in New Westminster, British Columbia until April 29, 2018.