If there’s a better way to experience the show “Cabaret” than actually experiencing it in a cabaret, I haven’t found it. The stars of the show are your actual able servers (you can even have a German dinner before the show for an additional cost) and these folks banter with you while never going out of character, flirting shamelessly with the clientele and with each other. When Jeremy Trager’s Conrad Veidt-looking emcee starts the show, it feels so wonderfully authentic, until you realize that the same characters who are taking such good care of you are also the Nazis in the show. It’s quite an effective and interactive way to relive an important era of German history and get a hell of a show at the same time. Sally Bowles in this show is the normal talent that you would expect her to be in such a setting, not some Liza wannabe looking for a big break. She is a loser, and this version underscores that. It’s also great to see the elderly German couple that was cut from the movie version get as much attention as the leads, and they almost steal the show as a result. The entire score is heard here, not only the stuff cut from the film but also the three film numbers, but when this show wants to go dark, it gets about black as it gets. That reality is made all the more effective since your friends, your neighbors, the people that you thought you knew are the very people who become part of the Third Reich. (Dennis Polkow)
At No Exit Café, 6970 Glenwood; (773)743-3355. This production is now closed.