Alas, with the family in town, I use all my spare time being with them and not working on anything creative at all.
However, we did go to see the Peach State Summer Theatre’s production of Cabaret, starring our good friend Bailee DesRocher as Sally Bowles. None of us had actually ever seen the stage production, only the film, and I must say I was surprised at its structure. It’s just a musical comedy, and it was chock full of songs that are totally not memorable.
The performances were good; the voices were very good. I was kept interested in what was going on, and I did not squirm in embarrassment. Bailee, it goes without saying, was riveting as Sally.
I think where the production left me unthrilled was in its execution of that “musical comedy” problem. We (as a society) are long past the point where you might tilt a production of Cabaret into the warm cuddly area of Sound of Music. The Emcee, played by a talented, but to my mind miscast or misdirected, Matthew McGee, is not your friend. The bonhomie of his welcome cannot be sincere or untainted by poison. If we accept his invitation, we must, like Cliff, be in over our heads, and that danger must be present in some way in his beckoning arms, and it must be deliberate on his part. A smirk is no longer enough; it must be a leer.
It was that kind of subtext that I thought was missing from the show. It may be that this is part of producing such a louche piece in south Georgia, but you know my philosophy: if you can’t honor the author’s intent, pick another show. Might I recommend Good News instead? It’s a valid, fun piece of theatre, you can reuse the costumes from Thoroughly Modern Millie, and you won’t have to worry about whether the KitKat girls should clutch their breasts or their clavicles.