Christa Obergfell (right) adjusts the costume of Kathy MacDonald who plays Sally Bowles. Obergfell designed and made 46 costumes for Cabaret. In 1914 Obergfell won for best costume design at Theatre BC’s Mainstage provincial festival for her work on Sense and Sensibility.

Christa Obergfell (right) adjusts the costume of Kathy MacDonald who plays Sally Bowles. Obergfell designed and made 46 costumes for Cabaret. In 1914 Obergfell won for best costume design at Theatre BC’s Mainstage provincial festival for her work on Sense and Sensibility.

Cabaret captivating and upsetting

She dyes her hair burgundy red, paints her nails green and pretty much does whatever she has to do to get a name for herself in Berlin.

She dyes her hair burgundy red, paints her nails green and pretty much does whatever she has to do to get a name for herself in Berlin’s 1931 club scene.

In the musical Cabaret, Sally Bowles lives blissfully blind to a whole lot of social ills leading up to the Second World War.

Seeing the dress rehearsal of the Studio Theatre’s production of Cabaret Monday evening reminded me of how much I loved the 1970s movie version, with Liza Minnelli and all of its colourful song and dance routines.

I found myself smiling and laughing with the characters through the first half of the play, but ultimately sad and crestfallen by the end realizing how close world conditions now resemble those pre-Second World War times.

Globally and at home we continue to struggle with issues around oppression, poverty, economic disparity, religious and racial intolerance, abuse and exploitation of women, drug abuse, abortion, homosexuality, transgender identification, and freedom of expression, all brought fearlessly to the stage in Cabaret.

All of these issues are writ large in our international and local politics today and one wonders if world leaders will ever be able to bring peace to the world, or are we headed ultimately for another global war.

I have watched a lot of Studio Theatre productions over the years, but I don’t think I have ever seen one where every cast member seems to be absolutely perfect for the role they play, and playing the role so beautifully.

Hats off to director Sandi Alaric for pulling this timely production together in such a wonderful way and to all of her backstage helpers, music and dance directors and of course the cast and band.

All I can say is absolutely amazing.

I left the dress rehearsal elated and crushed at the same time.

Kathy MacDonald is absolutely incredible in the part of Sally Bowles.

She exudes the enthusiasm of a young girl determined to make her mark in the entertainment world no matter what the cost, blind to the reality of the world around her.

If the play has one message I would say it is to be fearless in (peacefully) expressing your opposition to social injustice, racism, intolerance and abuse.

Cabaret is on stage at the Studio Theatre for its regular run this weekend and March 16-19.

Dinner theatre events will be held at the Elk’s Hall Friday, March 25 and Saturday, March 26. The Saturday dinner theatre sold out early but there may still be some tickets available for the Friday dinner theatre.

Tickets are available at The Open Book, Kit and Kaboodle and About Face Photography: $20 for adults and $18 for youth and seniors; and $50 for dinner theatre.