Welcome to the sensuous world of Carabet, stranger. Travel back to 1930’s pre–war Berlin, when song and dance meant something so much meatier, and sexuality lived on the streets. Theatre Aquarius’ stage awaits you this weekend for the closing nights of Cabaret – an incredible show and favourite amongst theatregoers.
This production is nothing short of completely fabulous, my enjoyment–level and the talent on stage held a 10/10 start to finish. Lead Pamela Gordon plays the mysterious and sultry Sally Bowles, headlining act at the infamously seedy Kit Kat Club…and backed by seven delectable cabaret girls. (They couldn’t have been better if they were covered in whipped cream.)
But let’s talk about Pamela Gordon’s sensational, knockout performance as Sally Bowles. Liza Minelli’s are big shoes to fill, for starters. Liza definitively stars alongside Michael York in the movie version, directed by Bob Fosse. The play first appeared on Broadway in 1966 to overwhelming popularity and spawned many subsequent productions in addition to the movie. Pamela Gordon is absolutely worthy of the role. In her character’s climax moment she sings the title song Cabaret – solo, centre stage, dark except for her spotlight – with only her emotion to drive the performance. It is superbly done and gave me chills that lasted through until the stage descended to darkness. That barebones moment revealed just how deeply talented Pamela Gordon is.
Sally’s love interest and central character Cliff Bradshaw is played by Aidan deSalaiz; a somewhat naive American writer travelling through Europe in search of inspiration for his next novel. Sally wishes to be the subject of his work and enters somewhat unceremoniously into his life, and rented room – though after not long finds herself wishing on a white picket fence future with the equally (or perhaps more) smitten Cliff. Aidan deSalaiz is excellent as Cliff, providing the story a moral compass – albeit with a secret side – in juxtaposition with the play’s bawdy style.
However the male lead who owns the show is our emcee, played by the fantastic Cameron MacDuffee. His introduction begins within the walls of the Kit Kat Club as the show’s host, although he also steps into the action as an assisting device at times. Cameron MacDuffee brought a smile creeping onto my face at the ‘go’ mark when he peeped through the slot in the dark door at the back of the stage, scoping out who had arrived to his Cabaret that evening. His performance was utterly captivating.
The choreography by Jeff Dimitriou left nothing wanting – and that is a huge statement considering the task at hand. Dimitriou had the use of only a very bare stage and a few chairs to build an entire atmosphere using movement. The sexy flexes and overall creative design had the right amount of flourish to bring the Kit Kat Club to life, and I was drawn completely into his world. It was stunning, dark and fabulous.
Likewise the band, positioned at top centre stage, was outstanding. The jazz and blues fused musical numbers became sexier and sexier as things progressed thanks to musicians who were sunk right in and feeling it. A huge amount of talent was present on stage, all told.
The storyline of Cabaret touches on the political situation in Berlin when Nazi ideology was just beginning to pervade the neighbourhoods. It isn’t too much or too little, and gives substance to an already rich show.
Director Ron Ulrich shapes the show with delightful simplicity, letting the elements stand for themselves. Strong actors every one, delectable styling, and songs that are favourites and classics – this production is a smash hit. V
Until March 29
@ Theatre Aquarius.
190 King William St.