“Fantastically bizarre” is the phrase that best describes the hit musical, Cabaret. Presented by Theater Latté Da and Hennepin Theatre Trust at the Pantages Theatre in Minneapolis, this amazing show is running now until February 9th. On my way to opening night on January 15th, my dad attempted to explain what a “cabaret” was. In essence, it is entertainment provided at nightclubs/restaurants, and the idea of it seemed rather uninteresting to me. But I was completely blown away at the intensity of it and left feeling rather stunned, like I had bitten off more than I could chew.
Cabaret follows the journey and stay of an American novelist, Clifford Bradshaw, who travels to Berlin, Germany for inspiration. He ends up finding inspiration in one of the most unlikeliest of places: a scandalous cabaret called the Kit Kat Klub, where he meets British cabaret star, Sally Bowles. The musical soon develops into whirling scenes of love, parties, and despair.
One of the factors that made this musical so enrapturing was, believe it or not, the dancing. I would like to make a shout out to the choreographer of the show, Michael Matthew Ferrell, (whom I have had the pleasure of working with) for doing such an outstanding job as usual. Part of the point of the show was to get people astounded and thinking when they left; and the dancing did just that. Even though the audience let out a bark of appalled laughter at every sexual dance move (which was about 90% of the show), the dancing was quite obviously difficult and intricate. But still, the innuendo is hard to ignore. In fact, the dancing was so scandalous, Miley Cyrus would’ve been proud.
Another factor was simply the energy that all the characters brought to the stage. A crowd favorite was the Emcee, who constantly had so much energy and was simply so talented, he could do all the sexual stuff he wanted and people would still find him amusing. The world that he and the cast created with their singing and dancing and acting was simply fantastical in itself. They made it seem like the Kit Kat Klub was truly the place to be, and somehow made it okay for one night to be touching other people’s privates. However that works.
One factor I absolutely fell in love with was the bizarreness of some of the songs. I know after many of the Emcee’s songs I was left with a completely befuddled expression, because it seemed like there was truly no purpose. For example, the Emcee sings and tap dances a song with a girl in a gorilla suit called, “If You Could See Her”. For most of the song, it seemed pointless. But if one listened closely enough to the last line, “if you could see her through my eyes… she wouldn’t look Jewish at all”, they would be able to realize that the whole point was to say that no one should judge whom you love. My brain processed these underlying implications after the show, and that was what caused me to fall head over heels in love with Cabaret.
At any rate, I absolutely loved Cabaret in all its bawdiness and peculiarities. This show is not for the faint hearted; I guarantee you will suffer a heart attack if you do. Instead, this show is meant for those who not only enjoy outrageous musicals, but can also look past the jokes and the sexual innuendo, and look at the meaning behind the mask.