I thoroughly enjoyed my stay at Theater Latte Da and Hennepin Theatre Trust’s production of “Cabaret” at the Pantages Theatre. For about two hours and thirty minutes I was completely transported to a sparkling and sleazy nightclub caught in the center of Germany during the rise of the Nazi party. The show did a dazzling job of portraying the nightclub as a perfect metaphor for the attitude of the German people during the political changes, their denial, and passive oblivion. The cabaret created the illusion of it’s own little world, separate from the rest of reality. This show was incredible because it effectively lulled the audience into this party before methodically pulling them back into the disturbing reality by perfectly orchestrated production choices.
The audience was truly included into the show. Right from the very beginning, the Emcee and other performers completely removed the fourth wall by starting out in the audience and rallying them for the introduction of the show. My only regret is that from my seat in the balcony I could not see when the Emcee supposedly climbed down a rope from the edge of the balcony right into the center of the audience below. The Emcee soon declared “that even the orchestra is beautiful” and I couldn’t have agreed more. Throughout the entire show the music was spot on, the 1920’s style German cabaret style music swept the audience away. Immediately the audience was welcomed into the show, into the world of the cabaret, where there were not troubles of the world outside.
The highlight of the show was definitely the performance Emcee (played by Tyler Michaels) whose presence was nearly constant though out the entire show, almost like the shadow of the external political problems in Germany. Not only was he an outstanding singer and dancer, but in the second act he revealed himself to be quite a talented trapeze artist in “I Don’t Care Much” which was an exceptionally haunting piece, bringing to a full circle the irony of the character’s in the show’s lack of concern with the political events around them. Another stand out piece was “Money” which was the first performance to really introduce the darker undertones of the story, and the underlying tensions of the characters in the story. The choreography was very good and the image of the Emcee catching the red suitcase with his foot or the high-kick line turning to Nazi marches was unforgettable. All of these moments seemed so unexpected, but in the most incredible way: In the back of my mind I knew the historical context of the show, it’s what I’ve been learning about for the past month in history class, but the performance some how succeeded in pulling me away from that reality, into the own little world of the cabaret. Each time a reference to the Nazis was made, I jumped a bit, startled because everything had seemed like such a happy party before. I felt just as the characters in the story must have felt, shocked, surprised and in disbelief that something so disturbing could happen in this small world, despite the fact that similar moments had already occurred numerous times. By the end of the show, I was so stunned I could hardly clap. I have never, in my life been to a performance that had moved me so much. So come! Come to the Cabaret!