Show and Tell: 'Cabaret' at Village Theatre
A sparkling production for older teens and adults about a nightclub in World War II Germany
The bottom line
Set in 1931, this iconic musical revolves around the “hottest spot in Berlin,” a seedy nightclub called the Kit Kat Klub. As the Nazis rise to power in Germany, the Kit Kat is the place one can go “leave their troubles at the door” and enjoy a scandalous, sexy show. Best for older teens and adults, Village Theatre's sparkling production plays at the Francis Gaudette Theater through July 3 (Issaquah) and at the Everett Performing Arts Center from July 10–Aug. 2 (Everett).
Cabaret begins as an American writer, Clifford Bradshaw, arrives in Berlin and finds lodging at a boarding house run by Fraulein Schneider. After negotiating a lesser price for his room, he is invited to the Kit Kat Klub by a friendly German he met on the train. There he is introduced to the sexy headline singer, English woman Sally Bowles, with whom he becomes romantically involved.
The story centers around the club performers and regulars along with the residents of the boarding house. The numbers they perform at the cabaret are risque: men are in drag, women dress as men, and song lyrics are provocative. Throughout the play, the upbeat musical numbers slowly begin to be overshadowed by the Nazi regime’s threat, though most of the characters think that “nothing will come of the Nazis.” Jewish character Schultz, in a heartbreaking portrayal by Peter Crook, is a fruit shop owner who is convinced that he is a German first and therefore nothing will hurt him.
The vintage-look set is beautifully distressed, providing a stunning backdrop to the performers’ glittering costumes. The stage band is set up on a portable platform that is moved on and off of the stage, bringing the band into the show. In some numbers, the band members wander the stage and interact with the actors, a really fun addition.
Jason Collins was perfect as the ghoulish Emcee, and a young singer named Matthew Bratton sang in an eerie acappella that gave me chills. Anne Allgood as Fraulein Schneider managed to show both the funny and sad sides of her character. Billie Wildwick’s amazing voice brought the character of Sally Bowles come to life.
Parents should know
Cabaret is rife with sexual innuendo, both in the dialogue and in the musical numbers. However the raunchy scenes are more campy than sexy. That said, the show addresses a number of heavy themes, from abortion (although it is implied, many kids wouldn’t get the reference) to the evils of the Nazi regime and anti-Semitism. Also, there are men kissing men; one character is a prostitute; and one is bisexual. There is lots of drinking and smoking. The cursing is minimal, and the only violence was one fistfight.
My almost 16-year-old was fine with the content (she called it "a smart and emotional show"), and she knew enough World War II history to “get” the more subtle undercurrents in the theme. I would recommend this show for older teens and adults.
You can check out a performance preview guide for more specifics.
If you go ...
Where: The Village Theatre is located at 303 Front St. N., Issaquah, Wash.
Tickets: Call 425-392-2202 or buy online:
Parking: There is plenty of parking, all within a short walk to the theater.
- The theater is connected to Fins Bistro, from which adults can pre-order cocktails for the 15-minute intermission, you can also pre-order from the dessert menu.
- Bottled water, coffee and candy are available for sale in the lobby. Cash only! And bring small bills, they weren’t able to give change for a $20. The theater is near several eateries, including Domino’s Pizza, Confetti Cupcakes, Yum-E Yogurt, and many other choices.Google+