This production, in a small venue, had a greater impact than if you had seen it in a major theatre. From the start with the personal ‘Willkommen’ to those in the front and end of rows this show by the California Musical Theater Ensemble crackled and sizzled its way through a shortened version of the classic production.
Set in pre-WW2 Germany, around a night club, the story deals with a decadent society about to be affected by the rise of National Socialism and the persecution of the Jewish people. At a personal level, there are love affairs between the American Writer (Alex Jean) and Sally Bowles, the central character, and the landlady (Alexis Germain) and the Jewish widower (Asher Ehrenberg.
Kelsey Kato is immense as the Emcee bringing strength, humour and athleticism to the key role. Every time he stepped out on to the stage you knew you were in for a treat.
Sally Bowles (Tawini Bridenball) was not far behind in the star quality stakes and her rendering of the title song built from a whisper to a crescendo sang with the emotion that it deserved.
The principals were generally of a high standard but when the Kit Kat Girls came together with the Emcee then the impact of choreography and singing came together to make a great spectacle.
Devon Matthews made an impression as the tenant with constant male companions. If there was a small couple of points, sometimes the female actors need to remember to project a little more so the whole house can hear without straining. Also, hand gestures need to be more expansive.
Shiloh Orr made a great transformation from friendly guy to a chilling Nazi in the final scenes of the show.
A show of this quality with some memorable moments is what makes the Edinburgh Fringe great.
Runs to Sat 16th, 21:00.