No use sitting alone in your room when you can come to the “Cabaret” at Wilbury Theatre.
Director Tom Gleadow has taken this musical about the Nazi party coming into power in Berlin in the ’40s and given it a good interpretation.
Gleadow makes use of the large space at Trinity Church, putting the small band on the stage while bringing the cast into the audience. I expected to see tables and chairs on the floor, creating a feeling of an actual cabaret, but Gleadow chose to seat us in a “U” shape and bring the actors to us.
Jo-an Peralta gives us a great Emcee, an androgynous character with a flair for the outlandish, surrounded by the Kit-Kat girls, including the crossover Patrick Saunders, who appear between the more intimate scenes.
While the show at press night was still a bit rough around the edges, there were moments of brilliance, especially whenever Katie Travers was on stage. Travers plays Sally Bowles, the Cabaret singer/dancer who falls in love with Cliff, the American writer (Joshua Andrews).
Travers, who played Lucy in Wilbury’s “Three Penny Opera,” has a strong voice and excellent stage presence, making Bowles a sympathetic character and bringing down the house with her emotional rendition of the title song in the second act.
While the scenes in the cabaret are sexy, glitzy and often outrageous, it is the more intimate scenes between a proper German landlady (Maria Day-Hyde) and a Jewish fruit peddler (Roger Lemelin) and the conflicted love between Cliff and Sally.
The mood changes dramatically in the second act when Nazi leader Ludwig (Brien Lang) interferes with relationships and things turn for the worse.
Costume designer Sylvi Re has provided authentic period costumes, right down to the shoes and wigs.
There are the familiar songs, including the raucous “Money Makes the World Go Round” and the haunting “Maybe This Time.” The staging of “Tomorrow Belongs to Me” is unique and effective.
The musical reflects a time in history that most Germans want to forget and most Jews never will. It reminds us of what Cliff tells Sally: “If you’re not against it, you’re for it.”
“Cabaret” is at the Wilbury Theatre Group, 393 Broad St., in the old Trinity Church building through June 7. For more information and reservations go to www.thewilburygroup.org.