February 13, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 75  

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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Theatre Western delivers

By Ashley Audrain
Gazette Staff

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.

 

 

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