Reviewed by Paul Curry
"In here life is beautiful…." Says the Emcee at the start of Cabaret and this was most definitely the case in Winthrop only I would also add the words inspiring, intense and a wonderful night's entertainment.
I had not seen a production at the "Playhouse" before, however being a lover of "Cabaret" I went along hoping for a good production and this I got with so much more.
A very talented cast and crew are behind this production which is of a higher standard than a lot of the professional shows that pass through New England.
Mark Usher's direction is top notch, his method for ensuring continuity of the show is very clever and just shows a taste of the creativity used to portray the story line. The development of the plot is aided with excellent character interpretation and wonderful uses of symbolism in props, costumes and makeup. The staging of the end of both acts is extremely powerful. He pulls no punches in telling it like it is or was...
All characters are well rounded and their commitment to the piece really sweeps you up into it and I was truly lost in the story and the quality of the acting. All accents work very well especially Sally's British accent. The set is wonderful and simple to support the Director's requirement for subtle scene changes. Vocally the show is well delivered and the orchestra managed by Music Director (Darin Anquoe) is very crisp and has a nice full sound. Having them over the players added to a very even sound coming out into the auditorium. Costumes (Jennifer Hopkins) and props (Rachel Belliveau) adds to the shows authenticity backed up by lighting (Joseph Fox) that also captures the mood of every scene. Given how smooth this show runs we must look to the artful handling by stage manager Aaron Spence - great job. Where I think the show really puts itself ahead of the pack is in the Choreography, also handled by Usher. Here we see a standard much higher than I have seen in Community theatre for a long time…in fact I have seen some professional shows that could learn from this. The steps are clever and delivered with precision by the performers – "The Money song" in particular was a showstopper for me in concept, creativity and overall delivery. A pity we don't see more groups put this effort into choreography.
> The players are very suited to their roles and they completely deliver the Directors vision. The Emcee (Chad Flahive) is absolutely superb. Sally (Holly Nugent) is captivating – her rendition of "Cabaret" quite supreme – Cliff (Charles Walsh) is wonderful (in a more in-depth portrayal of the character than I have seen before which works very well) The chemistry between Nugent and Walsh is electric and adds to strength of their story. Fraulein Schneider (Pam Racicot) and Herr Schultz (Steve Walsh) also have a wonderful stage presence together helped along by the brash Fraulein Kost (Terrie Lootens). The rest of the performers all rise to the level of the named characters. There is no "chorus" in this show. They all gave everything they had and it was nice to see the entire cast bow in one straight line at the end. BRAVO!!!
"Cabaret" runs for one more weekend (Thurs 15th, Fri 16th and Sat 17th @ 8.00pm). I am not sure if there are tickets left as the house was full when I was there however the box office number 617 539 1175.
If you have a free night, go see it – it's a very powerful!!