Director: Dan Pengelly
Club Cabaret is not the famous musical Cabaret you may know of, it is a fabulous display of local and not so local talent. For those of you who—like me—kind of know what a ‘cabaret’ is but aren’t quite sure, I’ve looked up some definitions, and for the sake of brevity I’ll make up my own version. A cabaret consists of a variety of acts brought together at a venue like a pub, cruise ship, nightclub or other such place with a stage. It usually includes a dining opportunity and is run by an MC. You could say that it’s a tacky version of Britain’s got Talent complete with all the cringe-worthy and unpredictable moments that come with such a production. Club Cabaret turns it all on its head by bringing exceptional talent together who act out a low-budget style cabaret—do not be fooled, what you will witness is theatre at its finest.
At Centrepoint Theatre, Club Cabaret’s performance begins the minute that you enter the foyer—keep your wits about you, it’s a dynamic environment and you never know what might happen—and what you see in the foyer may make you seriously question what is happening on the stage later!
Inside the theatre the cabaret environment has been brought to life with all the glitter, silk and velvet curtains you’d expect to see for such a performance, thanks to set designer Sean Coyle. Kane Parsons combines his musical expertise with his performance as part of the show from behind a brightly lit sign with ‘Club Cabaret’ emblazoned on it. He plays this dual role with ease as usual.
I’m seated in the audience, jealous of the platters and drinks the tables at the front are receiving (seated tables are VIP) but also pleased that my more towards the back seating will exclude me from audience interaction (it didn’t). I’ve got no idea what sort of entertainment is going to roll out, but I’m ever aware that there are actors circulating in the crowd and one of them has just made eye contact…
A bit of mystery will add to your enjoyment of this variety show. I don’t want to reveal exactly what happened but I will say that there was an incredible level of expertise, dedication to craft, and to creating a genuine cabaret atmosphere. I smiled, laughed, gasped and covered my mouth in horror as an expert cast performed some incredible acts. MC-ing the whole affair was director and Centrepoint Theatre manager Dan Pengelly playing the part of 'Pierre'. With an exceptional French accent and a delightfully ‘professional’ MC persona, Dan was an absolute joy to watch. Darlene Mohekey—wow! Talent like hers should not be missed. Returning to the stage for multiple performances you’ll be surprised at her chameleon like abilities. An Eminem performance by Darlene I can only describe as – unbelievable.
I think I needed an oxygen mask for the physical theatre performances by Eve Gordon and Mike Edward of Dust Palace. If you missed an opportunity to see Le Cirque Vole where Dust Palace most recently performed then don’t miss this chance while they’re still here in Palmy. Seeing is believing, but even then, you won’t believe your eyes. Intimate, sensual, and terrifying their three high-quality performances will have you as on-the-edge of your seats as they are on theirs.
Lizzie Tollemache and David Ladderman bring the circus and the magic! Their interaction with a crowd who are putting their brains through the acrobatic act of trying to figure out how they carry out their tricks is excellent.
I think Dan Pengelly has a special talent when it comes to selecting excellent shows and choosing great cast members. He seems to have the Midas touch for it. The cast of Club Cabaret are stars! Pure gold stars. Did they cast a spell over me? This is no illusion; Club Cabaret is amazing.
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