The great elements of musical theatre come together as Shawnigan Lake School presents this year's musical, Cabaret, at the McPherson Playhouse.
Set in Germany in the early 1930s, this popular Broadway musical hints at the coming menace of the Holocaust, with compelling characters who either face or ignore the threat.
Rather than beginning with an overture, Cabaret jumps abruptly into the action, as The Emcee welcomes us to Berlin's infamous Kit Kat Klub. From the moment he takes the stage, Vaihau C. owns the role of The Emcee, fully committed to his flamboyant character as he guides us through a constant carousel of subplots and love stories.
The show contains a wealth of memorable lines, moments of humour, and buoyant musical numbers, all of which easily resonate with a contemporary audience. At the same time, it touches on dark and mature themes, as characters face tragedy and dark omens turn to open violence.
While Cabaret is traditionally aimed at a more sophisticated audience, the success of this production is in part thanks to its bold simplicity. From a stark set bathed in red tones and velvet textures to a chorus line clad in brilliant harlequin costumes, the show is well-paced, intriguing, and fun.
The ensemble also captures the energy writers John Kandor and Fred Ebb became famous for, thanks to strong vocal performances (particularly from Maia C. as Sally Bowles), a sharp orchestra (led by pianist Brad L'Écuyer), and the joyful choreography of Kelli McLeod. As a result, Director Morgan McLeod's show is lavish and upbeat, while at the same time providing a relevant and provocative theatrical experience.
Cabaret runs Jan. 25-27 at Victoria's McPherson Playhouse. Due to popular demand, balcony seating is now available for all three shows on the RMTS website.
Shawnigan Lake School is a co-educational boarding school on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. The school is home to nationally-ranked academics, arts and athletics, with 100 per cent of graduates accepted to university.