Despite being on the literal ‘fringe of Fringe’ as Source theater’s producing artistic director, Carla Hubner put it, the festival spirit is clearly alive and well in Cabaret Carousel. Upon entering the theater I was ushered to my seat by an enthused volunteer clad in lederhosen. The man’s festive outfit was in celebration of one of Cabaret Carousel‘s three themes, ‘Berlin and Broadway’.
The night’s theme featured various Broadway tunes by noteable German composers such as Kurt Weill and Bertold Brecht and writers such as Gershwin, and Sondheim. While the songs did all fall under the theme, one of the shows weaknesses was the lack of thematic cohesion in the song choices. There was no arc to it, there was no reason for one song to follow the next and this was fairly disengaging. In addition, the show may have benefited from some more interesting blocking choices. The lack of movement slowed the energy at times and hampered the evening’s theatrically.
Luckily Cabaret Carousel featured three talented vocalists: Sally Martin, Tara McCredie, and Richard Tappens. While solos such as “Seven Deadly Virtues” and “Sex Appeal” were enjoyable, the singers appeared most energized in the group numbers. Their macabre rendition of Brecht and Weill’s ‘Mack the Knife’, telling the story of the trickster Macheath, was humorously juxtaposed later with the cheeky “Two Ladies”, in which all three singers exuded pure glee while expressing their affinity for a ménage a trios.
Perhaps the most exciting number of the night is Friedrich Hollaender’s “Falling in Love Again” a duet in both German and English between Tara McCredie and Sally Martin. The entwining of the German and English lyrics spoke best to the night’s theme of ‘Berlin and Broadway’.
If you are looking to hear impressive singers, this show may be for you.
Directed by Angelisa Gillyyard
Produced by The In Series
Reviewed by Mo O’Rourke
NOTE: We have learned that Cabaret Carousel was actually a cabaret series, composed of 3 separate programs. Besides this program, there was a salsa cabaret (which we did not review), and “Blues and Ballads” – which Joel Markowitz covered in his column Theatre Schmooze: Cabaret Carousel – This Joint was Jumpin’.