I enjoyed the Shaw production of Grand Hotel though the music itself is not very memorable. I didn’t leave the show haunted by any of the melodies but by the wonderful performances. Director Eda Holmes had her hands full with set of strong, compelling characters – at time it was more traffic cop with all the blocking needed to move everyone, sometimes all at once, on the stage.
Based on the 1932 all-star film the plot moves with clockwork perfection. Multiple characters with different needs, motivations & secrets interact over 24 hours in a plush hotel. Staff is attentive but have their own stories tell as well. I loved the telephone operators. As ballerina Elizaveta Grushinskaya, Deborah Hay demonstrates some real ballet barre chops. Vanessa Sears as Flaemmchen gives ‘Girl In The Mirror’ real longing.
This is very much an ensemble piece. It’s almost as if the writers counted words to make sure each principle character had their fair share of lines. All were strong singers and dancers as well. Parker Esse’s choreography captured the energy of 1929 without it feeling like a museum piece. It was also clear that the cast loved what they were doing. The energy in ‘We’ll Take A Glass Together’ was palpable. Michael Therriault as Otto Kringelein shows amazing physicality in this number as well. The spinning bar was a delight.
The script handles multiple characters without becoming confusing or muddled. The layers of story telling were intricate &, for a change, logical. I can’t speak to the historical accuracy of the play though. My only negative comment is that the sound balance for the chorus scenes: multiple characters singing different view points with the chorus having their own songs – became rather muddy – as if the band felt it had to play louder to be heard – result: singers & lyrics drowned out.
1929 Berlin was simmering between the wars & there is little sense of what was to be, when people come to the Cabaret. A thoroughly entertaining production I’d recommend.
Other recent reviews:
Long Day’s Journey Into Night: “a ghost haunting the past” https://wp.me/p1RtxU-30f
Coriolanus: “My rage is gone” https://wp.me/p1RtxU-31K
The King and I: “The King and My Memories” https://wp.me/p1RtxU-31Y
Julius Caesar: “Honourable Women” https://wp.me/p1RtxU-33T
The Hound of the Baskervilles: “Entertainment Afoot”
The Tempest: “Brave Spirits Indeed” https://wp.me/p1RtxU-35S