ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
Theatre Western delivers
By Ashley Audrain
Sexy, fun and entertaining, Don’t Tell Mama: A Night at the Cabaret
was a musical revue complete with something for everyone, theatre buff or not.
The talent was outstanding, the creative production impressive and the overall
energy of the show was charming; with the exception of technical sound difficulties,
and a rather slow first half, Theatre Western delivered.
The performers undoubtedly make or break the show, and Don’t Tell Mama
showcased a range of talents. Some of the performers shone theatrically, while
others had beautifully trained voices, but a stage presence that was less than
compelling. The audience definitely had their favorites, including Dallas Curow
and Angie Gachui.
The men in the production, in particular Ciaran McCarthy, delivered solo performances
that were both entertaining and passionate. However, the women were at their
most impressive when they collectively performed their sexy and well choreographed
numbers: Cabaret’s “Don’t Tell Mama” and Chicago’s
sassy “Cell Block Tango.”
These performers helped to liven up the show and give the audience some much
needed energy. The first few numbers were not the strongest and lacked liveliness,
but the acts were more impressive as the two-hour show continued.
Ending with the four best performances in the production, McCarthy and Lara
Katz blew the audience away with challenging, but outstanding numbers from
Jesus Christ Superstar and Gypsy, respectively. The show ended with the entire
cast on stage for Hairspray’s “I Know Where I’ve Been,” and
the crowd-pleaser “Seasons of Love” from Rent.
It was during these numbers that the mark of a good theatrical production — the
goose bump moment — finally swept the audience, in large part due to
the incredible voice of Gachui. Although she was the poster-girl for the production,
she didn’t appear nearly enough on stage; but when she did, it was obvious
why she won the Western Idol competition.
While the choreography was professional and the lighting was good, the sound
problems were distracting and problematic; during her only solo, Jennifer Cogswell
had a Céline Dion moment a la this year’s Grammy’s, but
commendably handled it well.
Held at The Wave, it wasn’t clear whether it was the venue or the technical
crew that was to blame for the difficulties. Despite this, musical director
Josh Priess led a polished and talented band.
Undoubtedly a well-produced and impressively cast musical, Don’t Tell
Mama was a successful production that was impossible not to enjoy.