Monday, May 30, 2005

Review – Cabaret

I know I’m supposed to be impressed by the Berlin-between-the-wars decadence and/or blown away by the famous musical numbers. But honestly my favorite part of this production was the backdrops. I loved the look and feel of the locations much more than the sad, silly antics of the characters. It didn’t help that the cast was headed up by wooden Michael York and spastic Liza Minelli. I feel bad saying this about the role she’s probably best known for, but she’s at best inconsistent as Sally. Sometimes you can almost feel for the character, but then Minelli slips and out comes her own less-than-endearing personality rather than the part she’s supposed to be playing. To complete the Three Faces of Liza: whenever she starts to sing a solo, out comes Mama. Joel Grey does a solid job in the role that will be forever associated with him, and his performance works at least in part because he blends in so well with the time and the place rather than trying to Hollywood all over everything. A projectionist in Asia once screened The Sound of Music with all the musical numbers cut out. I’d like to see something similar tried here (annoying things just get stuck in my head anyway). And as long as the scissors are out, cut down the leads’ screen time and see what kind of movie can be made out of the subplots that emphasize key elements of this fascinating period in history. Mildly amusing

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