For more information, visit Reboot Theatre
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Reboot Theatre Seattle "Cabaret" Review
We arrived at the Theatre Off Jackson's Reboot Theatre to find two police vans with lights flashing just outside the entrance. We drove around the corner to park; soon two ambulances drove past us. We didn't know if this was a plot to over-through live theatre or perhaps an attempt to collect actor equity dues . . . or just common every day entertainment. We were a little early so we stayed in our car and waited.
Forty-five minutes before opening we walked around the corner and saw no police. There was just a young woman standing by the open door and the steps to take us below to the infamous home of debauchery and buggery, the Kit Kat Klub.
We turned that down, "Nein?" and ordered 3 cans of ginger ale. After being short-changed we knew we were at the right place. When the artistic director, Jasmine Joshua, welcomed us and the hundred or so other voyagers to the evening's entertainment, we felt welcome and comfortable. It was wonderful seeing the support and the enthusiasm of the crowd. It was obvious that much of the crowd were regulars and thrilled to be there.
The lights lowered and our emcee, played by June Apollo Johns (above) was singing, dancing, and welcoming. They introduced a bevvy of beauty and variety. We were hooked. We surrendered and were drawn into the lives before us from nearly a hundred years ago and yet, not so far away as you might imagine.
The set: Mostly a wall of graffiti and posters offering cocaine and hope for a better world. Keep your eyes on the changing wall. Bit by bit the wall is altered and so are we. Photo - Top: Marlee Squires, Natalie Moe, James Stanford, Viviana Garza; Middle: Heather Refvem and Kevin Tanner; Bottom: Alexei Cifrese.
Bodies of evidence - The characters . . . We are introduced to two key characters: one is an American writer, Clifford Bradshaw (Vincent Milay) and the other is Ernst Ludwig (Seth Lifland - Photo - Center), a German dealing in something illegal. Rent? Clifford is introduced to Fraulein Schneider (Michelle Blackmon). We loved her performance. Clifford can't afford the rent she wants. In the end, they settle for what he can afford.
Clifford is a little more interested in things other than writing . . . like friendship. A new friendly friend he likes is Sally Bowles (Heather Refvem). We felt that her song "Maybe This Time" held back on feelings and reduced the powerful lyrics a bit too much. A minor complaint from us. We also felt the pairing of Clifford and Sally was odd with Clifford being a head shorter than her. Maybe this time it was an attempt to show that size doesn't matter. Photo - Heather Refvem and Vincent Milay as Sally and Cliff.
Gunshots, strobe lights, partial nudity, almost nudity, an hate speech, sexual content, and physical violence - Cabaret at Reboot has it all. Photo - Natalie Moe, June Apollo Johns, and Viviana Garza.
At a lovely wedding celebration we see Clifford's friend and business benefactor sing the wonderful Tomorrow Belongs to Me . . . a sweet song that turns and poisons all . . . "The sun on the meadow is summery warm . . . the stag in the forest runs free, but gather together to meet the storm . . . tomorrow belongs to me." The song turns and becomes a march . . . and drips hate. - Fred Ebb & John Kander
The lovely and helpful Fraulein Schneider cancels her wedding to a nice Jewish man. The hate grows. The song "If You Could See Her in My Eyes" drags the world down even further. Viviana Garza wears a gorilla costume and a gorilla mask and amazingly sports pink ballet slippers and dances "En Pointe."
The theatre stage and audience is well below street level. Our actual world doesn't sink further down, but our hearts do. Cabaret ends with a feeling of dread and the characters fighting back like the innocent people of Ukraine. We enjoyed June Apollo Johns as The Emcee (above). This is the best rendition of Cabaret we have ever seen. We thoroughly enjoyed Cabaret by the Gilbert & Sullivan Society a few years back before COVID, but it didn't have the seaminess and grit of Reboot. This is a show to be proud of.
The show runs through the 14th of May (2022) - reboottheatre.org
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For more information, visit Reboot Theatre