Life is a Cabaret: Above, Matt Wedlich, centre, as the Master of Ceremonies. *Photo by Kageaki Smith
Life is a Cabaret: Above, Matt Wedlich, centre, as the Master of Ceremonies. *Photo by Kageaki Smith

FRIDAY, NOV. 23: Matt Wedlich as the flamboyant Master of Ceremonies gave the stand out performance in Warwick Academy’s production of Cabaret.

Tying the entire play together the character is complex, combining sensual, seductive, flirtatious, mischievous and menacing. It’s a lot to take on but Wedlich did it justice and even managed to inject his own bitter, sweet twist on the character.

He was at ease on stage relishing in the monumental role that won Joel Grey an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in the iconic 1972 film. This performance including four songs, proved that Wedlich, a regular on the Bermuda stage, is a real all-rounder. What was lost in the odd missed note was more than gained by his extraverted presence on the stage.

Christia Wright starred in her first leading role as the care-free club singer Sally Bowles.

Wright excelled in the singing part of her perfomance even though she is not used to the big ballad style needed for the role. 

Her rendition of the title song Cabaret was powerfully sung and she managed to pull off the lingering finalé note without faltering which is quite a feat.

The direction of the song seemed a little amiss — the character looked angry in a song about getting out and living life to the full. At the end of the song, Bowles scowled at the audience in silence which was deflating -— granted that was the interpretation but I didn’t feel it was fitting for that particular version of the song.

While Wright’s singing was outstanding, a little more character needed to be injected into the musical performances. It was quite adventurous to put a newcomer in such a vivacious role. There was a fair amount of energy to her acting with a convincing English accent but it was her singing voice that won it for her — an absolute must for this part.

India Wilson is making her mark on the stage and played an adorably sweet Fraulein Schnider while Zachary Myres as Ernst Ludwig and Russell Conyers as Heir Shultz were effortless in their roles.

The set was lavish — as glitzy and glamorous as the original seedy haven known as the Kit Kat Club. The stage was adorned with a star-studded backdrop, Cabaret sign up in lights, mirrored steps and two huge Oscar award-like statues that reached the ceiling. All this really set it apart from your usual school production.

The music was relatively true to the film complete with the raunchy roars of the trumpet, the flirtatious tinkling of the piano and tantalising sound effects.

Make up and costumes were fantastic, not least Sally’s floor-length red glittering dress — not a far cry from Jessica Rabbit’s own glamorous gown.

The only set back was the make-up on the old people — the thick dark grey lines for wrinkles could have been less defined and cartoon-like.

It didn’t help that talcum powder kept falling out of their greyed hair. 

There was also some wonderful choreography with all the showgirls (and boys!) bringing a playful, funny atmosphere to the auditorium.

One outstanding feature about the direction by head of drama Chris Jones was the blurring between fantasy and reality — between the harsh reality of the Nazi uprising and the alluring reveries of the Kit Kat Club. The Emcee’s costumes were one tool used for this cross over — he appears as a stern guard at the train station, his uniform hinting at the Nazis’ except for the fishnet stockings. The play gradually becomes darker and darker — show songs are sung in minor keys, glitzy stage lights mingle with concentration camp searchlights.

One scene that will stay with me was near the end after a solemn rendition of Cabaret — when the music stops the Emcee walks on stage in a trench coat.

He takes off the coat to reveal the tattered, striped pyjamas of a camp prisoner, the sound of rainfall in the background and full cast on stage staring out like victims awaiting their execution. The serious subject matter of this play was treated with respect making this a show worthy of seeing — not just by the parents of students.

There is one more showing of Cabaret tomorrow night at Warwick Academy.