LIFE IS NOT ALWAYS A "CABARET"

BONNIE GOLDBERG

Once you enter the doors of Berlin's den of iniquity, the Kit Kat Klub, you leave your troubles outside and party non-stop. Dancing as fast as you can and drinking to excess, with inhibitions forgotten, your concerns will soon evaporate in a haze of sexual gratification. With the superb encouragement of the Master of Ceremonies, you are welcomed into a strange and intoxicating atmosphere where the real world and its problems vanish completely.

The place is Berlin, Germany, and the time is 1929 as Hitler wields a terrifying power over his Nazi party. Let Brendan Norton as the ingratiating emcee issue you an invitation to join the "Cabaret," courtesy of West Hartford's Playhouse on Park until Sunday, July 21, for an outstanding production that captures the decadence of the era in astonishing accuracy.

Pre-World War II Germany has been transformed by John Masteroff's book, John Kander's music and Fred Ebb's lyrics into a thoroughly depraved menagerie of sexual pleasures wrapped in sensual dance. The Toast of Mayfair, Fraulein Sally Bowles, is brought to vivacious life by Erin Lindsey Krom, as the headline act of the Kit Kat Klub.

Just as her luck seems to be turning bad, Sally latches on to Clifford Bradshaw, a new arrival in the city, a struggling author from America eager to write a novel that captures the times. Jake Loewenthal's Cliff is an innocent, who is quickly corrupted by Sally and by a prominent citizen, Ernst Ludwig (Conor Hamill), who conveniently conceals his membership in the Nazi party.

While the signs of impending doom are evident to anyone brave enough to look, Sally refuses to part with her rose-colored glasses. The dangers to people of the Jewish faith, like Herr Schultz (Damian Buzzerio) and his intended bride Fraulein Schneider (Kathleen Huber), are soon too obvious to ignore. Even Fraulein Kost (Ashley Ford) finds her profession as prostitute impacted by the difficult storm brewing. Sean Harris skillfully and imaginatively directs this musical that is packed with a stirring array of outstanding numbers.

For tickets ($22.50-32.50), call Playhouse on Park, 244  Park Road, West Hartford at 860- 523-5900 ex. 10 or online at www.playhouseonpark.org. Performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.

Scrape off the glitz, glamour and glitter on the surface of the Kit Kat Klub and discover that all is not beautiful, no matter how convincingly the emcee tries to make you believe it is so.

 

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