A Paris Cabaret Makes Way for ‘Cabaret’

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That leaves Broadway favorites, and specifically the classics — what’s missing on Paris stages, inexplicably, is more recent musicals, like “Hamilton” and “The Book of Mormon.” Carsen’s “Cabaret” isn’t actually the first version of this musical, with its book by Joe Masteroff, music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb, to be seen in Paris this century. A French translation, staged by Sam Mendes and Rob Marshall, was presented at another historical cabaret venue, the Folies Bergère, in 2006. But the Lido2Paris’s production, in English with subtitles, is a dry, ominous showstopper.

Carsen, a renowned Canadian director, takes full advantage of the venue’s layout: The Lido was designed as a cabaret-restaurant, with tables laid out on three sides of a thrust stage, and the Kit Kat Klub, the Weimar-era Berlin venue around which “Cabaret” revolves, is right at home in this atmosphere.

Before its revue closed, the Lido offered a high-end dinner service each night. (Over 150 people were laid off as part of Accor’s takeover, from restaurant staff to the permanent ensemble.) Now audience members have to trek to one of two small bars to buy a glass of champagne and nibbles, which left the auditorium feeling a little deserted.

The production captures the nihilism of 1929 Berlin and the steady rise of Nazism, which some characters see as little more than a distraction, starting with cabaret performer Sally Bowles (a role made famous by Liza Minnelli, here given restless intensity by Lizzy Connolly). Clifford Bradshaw, a bisexual American writer who has come to Berlin seeking freedom and inspiration, comes to see the growing political threat — yet fails to convince Sally, despite the love between them.

As the sardonic Emcee who presides over both the Kit Kat Klub and the show itself, Sam Buttery is an arresting sight from the opening “Willkommen” — bald with heavy, dark makeup, at once charismatic and blasé.

Sumber: www.nytimes.com

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