Serenbe Playhouse’s Cabaret review
Serenbe assembled an all-star cast for Cabaret! They called in the big guns this show and did not disappoint. They went all out in this production from the casting and choreography to the set and lights. It was truly the best production I’ve seen at Serenbe so far. I know that just like they did this year, next year they’re going to one up this show, so I’m ecstatic. They came with it all this year!
I don’t know how many other ways I can say how all out this show was. The set was massive and really transports you to the kit kat klub. The lighting for this show was spectacular though! That’s one thing I value about Serenbe, it’s an experience you won’t just get sitting inside of a theater. Here, the actors aren’t hundreds of feet away and the story just take place there. With Serenbe you’re a part of the show, you’re in the set, everything is happening around you in real time. It makes for a true and immersive experience that you can’t get anywhere else.
One HUGE thing I love about serenbe is that it’s so up close and personal with the cast that they’re almost forced to stay in character. There’s no breaking it’s almost like a giant improv and this ensemble was ON. It was a club, from just subtle flirting to them serving drinks at one point, it brought it all together. I loved watching this ensemble, I will say that there were two people that I couldn’t take my eyes off of Haley Platt and Terrence Smith. I’ve seen them in so many other shows that this difference in material drew me to them. I love seeing the versatility in actors throughout shows whether it’s subject matter or being a lead v. ensemble. I absolutely loved this ensemble. Also hats off to Serenbe’s 17/18 apprentice company for understudying these lead roles! That’s a huge thing to take on.
Before we get into this breakdown, I want to talk about this creative team. I have no idea how Brian Clowdus was both director and basically the star of the show. I honestly don’t know how this man is in the show and still had the ability to take a step back and look at this show like a director and being able to not go crazy! Bubba Carr’s choreography was some of the most precise and exact choreography I’ve seen. It’s so high energy and exact that I don’t know how they keep the pace. How to even build up your stamina enough to keep up with this brilliant choreo. Because as an audience member, it’s the some of the cleanest work I’ve seen on stage. The creative part of this show was clean! So, I want to shoutout the entire team responsible for this production.
Heidi Cline Mckerley as Fräulein Schneider: I just want to kick this off by saying her accent was on point! She brought a depth to a character that I’d honestly seen as not a throwaway character but a connecting character. I saw the character as someone who just connects the story for the big end of Act 1 reveal. But she gave this character meaning to me, it made sense why she was there. I think that’s honestly the biggest thing an actor can do.
Robert Wayne as Herr Schultz: I enjoyed the character he created. He brought in real life groundings that took him farther than the character Joe Masteroff wrote in the book. He was real, had real struggles, real joys, it really inspired me. You can tell his character study is intense. He took the character out of the book gave him some weight and told his story.
Deborah Bowman as Fräulein Kost: I also feel like this was another “throw away” character for me. But it seems like Deborah found that meaning. Also, can we talk about her comedic timing? I loved her portrayal. It honestly made me watch her more. I was definitely aware of when she was on stage and I loved watching her watch what was going on in scenes. It’s weird and like inception but watching her react to scenes. She was on and listening to her scene partners whether she had a line or not.
Edward McCreary as Ernst Ludwig: My hat is off to Edward, taking on this role is a huge leap. I’m not going to give away why this is such a huge thing. if you read Cabaret’s synopsis you’ll understand what I mean. But for him to take on such an ugly part of history head on, I can’t do anything but respect that. As actors, it’s our duty to not create perfect characters but bring reality to the stage (In most instances). He’s exceptional in this show and this role allows him to be versatile in his abilities.
Lee Osorio as Clifford “Cliff” Bradshaw: I think his casting was a smart choice by the creative team. He brought more to the role than I’d previously seen. There was more to Cliff, there was more to be uncovered as opposed to a younger version. He’s a grown man not a young man who doesn’t necessarily know what he’s doing. After seeing this character played both way I think I like the older more “experienced” approach. It resonated more to me this way.
Molly Tynes as Sally Bowles: I just want to start off by saying, this woman is a beast. The talent is unrivaled. That’s the only word that truly comes to mind. She left me dumbfounded, by the end of the show she had my jaw on the ground. She’s absolutely gorgeous, she commits to scenes, and her belt in incredible. On top of that she’s an aerialist specializing in silks, which they put to good use in this show. I honestly don’t know what this woman can’t do
Brian Clowdus as The Emcee: YALL! This man here is insane. Not only did he star in the show, he directed. He leaves it all on the stage! I really want to talk about how shook I was when he was onstage though. If you follow him on Instagram ( @brianclowdus on Instagram) you know his Instagram story is one of the funniest things on the planet. He has the thickest southern accent you’d ever heard but you can tell it’s backed up by an even bigger heart. His acting was incredible, that “light switch” moment is real. He just turned it on and suddenly he was the emcee. It was awesome to see, and that accent was ON POINT. He didn’t skip a beat and if he did he knew just how to pick it right back up and keep the show moving. He’s incredible and a true leader.
That’s all I have for Serenbe Playhouse’s Cabaret! Go see this show now running through Sept. 3. Don’t miss your opportunity to see this amazing production of a classic show!