KANDER and Ebb’s searing view of the rise of Nazism as seen through the prism of the lives of the habitués of a seedy Berlin cabaret venue loses none of its unsettling power in this brilliant new production by the Canberra Philharmonic Society.
Confidently and imaginatively guided by director Jim McMullen, who also conducts the excellent orchestra and co-designed the impressive set, the well-focused scenes flow seamlessly between the stage of the Kit Kat Klub and the bedrooms of Frauline Schneider’s run-down guest house to tell two concurrent stories of love under oppression.
Kelly Roberts, all steely fragility and wilfulness as the young English singer, Sally Bowles, is hopelessly entangled in the decadence of the Kit Kat Klub. She captivates the sexually-ambivalent young American writer, Cliff Bradshaw, charmingly portrayed by Mat Chardon O’Dea.
Ros Engledow and Ian Croker as the guest-house proprietor, Frauline Schneider and her Jewish suitor, Herr Schultz, help anchor the show with strong, well-judged performances that provide touches of warmth in an otherwise unforgiving milieu.
Angel Dolejsi is mesmerising as the edgy, reptilian MC, commenting on events, singing and dancing up a storm with the brilliantly choreographed and costumed Kit Kat girls. Dave Smith (Ernst Ludwig), Kitty McGarry (Frauline Kost) and Ben Trabinger (Max) contribute characterisations that are strongly supported by an excellent ensemble cast, superb orchestra and costume design for this outstanding Philo production.