book by Joe Masteroff
music by John Kander
lyrics by Frank Ebb
Drama Centre Theatre, Singapore
Sing'theatre has been steadily moving from strength to strength. I thoroughly enjoyed the company's quirky take on Off-Broadway classic I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change earlier this year and with this showstopping production, it has well and truly established itself as a musical theatre powerhouse.
Cabaret is a dark, decadent tale set in interwar Berlin. There's doomed romance and dashed dreams but also colour and life through the denizens of the Kit Kat Club, the hottest nightspot in town. It's about a era slowly coming to an end due to the rise of facism in the country and despite all the glitz and glamour, an ominous political undercurrent runs through.
Director Hossan Leong is alive to the complex emotional landscape of the text and his production treads a fine line between light and dark, balancing the frivolity with the grim realities of the outside world. Slick and entertaining, it also features top-notch singing and dancing with confident, sassy choreography and deft musical direction.
Acting is uniformly strong. Dwayne Lau has the audience eating out of his hand as the deliciously camp Emcee of the Kit Kat Club. Kimberly Chan's Sally Bowles, an ditzy English cabaret singer, dazzles with her vocal chops although one struggles to see her chemistry with Vester Ng's Clifford Bradshaw, a practical American writer who falls for her (a fact not helped by the latter's patchy accent). This was however more than compensated by a wonderful pairing between Siti Khalijah's Fraulein Schneider and Matt Grey's Herr Schultz, a silver romance that quietly captures the heart.
Production values are fantastic across the board with gorgeously cheeky costumes by Max Tan, evocative lighting and sound designs by Reuben Ong and Shah Tahir respectively and finally, an impressive tiered set by Wong Chee Wai that effortlessly transforms from train to bedroom to club.
If one is ever in doubt of the enormous musical talent we have in this country, this is surely a production to prove one wrong. Step in and leave your troubles outside.
The Crystalwords score: 4/5