The Groundlings perform Kander and Ebb’s Cabaret on various dates over the next three weeks but, after opening night, one can’t help but feel they should have held off on going public just a bit longer.
Director Richard Stride has cast himself as the EmCee, and while vocally capable of the part he doesn’t suit it physically.
What most of the performances lack is a third dimension.
Tom Cawte almost finds the pulse in Ernst, the darkest of the ‘real’ characters in the piece and Charlotte Kenna, as prostitute Fraülein Kost, captures the sleazy good-time girl nicely, but misses the opportunity to show her evil side as the first Act ends.
Tony Johnson, as hero Cliff, sings well but bizarrely sidelines the American accent required.
But this show must always hang on its Sally Bowles and here, at least, it has a high-point in Leah Lloyd. She belts the songs well and – despite her youth – often finds depths in the desperately shallow Sally.
Sadly the negatives far outweigh the positives – extraneous backstage noise, agonisingly slow scene-changes, a lack of attention to detail (inappropriate props and anachronisms galore) – cannot outweigh the energy and enthusiasm of the cast.
Until June 16.