Cabaret – Review by Bonnie Goldberg

The Kit Kat Club in Berlin, Germany circa 1929 is set for pleasure, with enough senuous, sexual, spectacular excitement to sink a battleship. With no holds barred, the nightclub is overflowing with snazzy, slinky and sensational selections guaranteed to make you forget your troubles and just dance, dance, dance while you drink to distraction. Your table is waiting at Goodspeed Opera House for you to arrive, where life is always beautiful, until Sunday, July 3. These party goers are like the proverbial ostrich that was known for sticking its head in the sand and ignoring the world around it. The same could be argued for the citizens of Berlin when they kept themselves busy partying and dancing and drinking, faster and faster, so they were oblivious to the dangers swirling around them outside the night club doors.

The frantic and frenetic times created so masterfully by Joe Masteroff’s book, John Kander’s music and Fred Ebb’s lyrics in “Cabaret,” based on the play by John Van Druten and stories by Christopher Isherwood will be on splendid display, thanks to the glittering scenic design by Michael Schweikardt, complete with a dizzying array of disco balls, the spot on choreography of Lainie Sakakura and glamour personified in Lex Liang’s costumes.

The welcome mat is securely laid out by the seductive and most accommodating Emcee Jelani Remy who urges you to leave all your troubles outside and have a good time, especially with his bevy of Kit Kat Girls to entertain you. Headlining the show is the sparkling singer from Mayfair, England, Miss Sally Bowles, a stars in her eyes Aline Mayagoitia, who is busy breezing through life seemingly without a care. She dangles men like so much jewelry, using them to accommodate her needs, like the club owner Max and the newcomer to Berlin, the American writer Cliff Bradshaw, the naive but trusting Bruce Landry.

On the train into town, Cliff meets the dangerously single minded Ernst Ludwig, a focused for the cause Tim Fuchs, who helps Cliff secure a room at the boarding house of Fraulein Schneider, a hard working and sincere Jennifer Smith. She is busy keeping track of her tenants like the overly friendly to sailors Fraulein Kost, a convincing Terra C. MacLeod, and the sweetheart of a greengrocer Herr Schultz, Kevin Ligon, who wants to make Fraulein Schneider his wife. The fact that he is Jewish becomes an obstacle of elephantine proportions.

Light hearted fun in songs like “Don’t Tell Mama” segue in alarming ways to the themes of “Tomorrow Belongs To Me,” as it echoes the Nazi message, and the hidden in plain sight discrimination of “If You Could See Her,” as the Emcee dances with his dummy doll lady friend. Meanwhile dark clouds obscure the sun, foreshadowing the storm to come, as James Vasquez directs this musical with hidden fangs in a decidedly wicked and “wunderbar” way.

For tickets ($30-85), call the Goodspeed Opera House, 6 Main Street, East Haddam at 860-873-8664 or online at Performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Masks are required in the theater.

Scrap off the glitter on the surface of the Kit Kat Klub and discover that all is not beautiful, no matter how hard the Emcee tries to make you believe it is so.