The Arts

Stratford Festival 2008 – Kander and Ebb’s Cabaret

Stratford Festival 2008 – Kander and Ebb’s Cabaret featured image

Paula Citron
Stratford Festival
Music and Lyrics by John Kander and Fred Ebb
Book by Joe Masteroff (adapted from the stories of Christopher Isherwood and the play by John Van Druten)
Directed by Amanda Dehnert
Starring Bruce Dow, Trish Lindström, Sean Arbuckle, Nora McLellan, Frank Moore and Cory O’Brien
At the Avon Theatre until Oct. 25

The Stratford Festival’s production of Cabaret throbs with excitement. Director Amanda Dehnert gives the 1966 musical a raunchy, tawdry edge that places it squarely in the seedy noir of 1930 Berlin. Choreographer Kelly Devine has matched Dehnert’s vision with suitable bump and grind performed with gusto by a superb cast. Douglas Paraschuk’s abstracted set is the quintessence of vulgar, enhanced by David Boechler’s down market costumes.

Dehnert’s take is that the Emcee, played magnificently by Bruce Dow, is the conscience of Germany. His woeful expression as he watches every scene telegraphs the horrors to come. Trish Lindström’s Sally Bowles is a full-throttle portrait of a woman with no moral compass, beautifully balanced by Sean Arbuckle’s passive but honourable Clifford Bradshaw. Nora McLellan and Frank Moore are wonderfully poignant as the elderly mismatched lovers, while Cory O’Brien is perfect as a New World Order Nazi.

This production may be dark, but it is absolutely riveting.

Cabaret continues at the Avon Theatre until Oct. 25.

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