The cozy space of the Best Place was packed last Sunday night. The late 19th century beer hall in the Historic Pabst Brewery was the perfect backdrop for Amanda Marquardt’s Schmutziges Deutsche Kabarett--a Weimar-era German inspired by the Kander and Ebb musical Cabaret.
It plays like a production of the Kander and Ebb musical without all the heavy drama. Nothing here but fun, lighthearted song-and-dance fare. It’s a really simple idea, but it plays remarkably well. Catchy, little songs with playful lyrics fill the tiny space as women dance around with a high-spirited sensuality. One song follows another in quick succession amidst quick little bits of wit.
The cast is a fun blending of burlesque and musical theatre types. Vibrant and distinctive talents like Sarah Sefeldt and Jenn Turner were accompanied by guest singer “Lilly Sparrow from New York. Sparrow had some rather impressive moments over the course of the show including an engrossing rendition of Cab Calloway’s “Minnie the Moocher.” The show is hosted by Marquardt herself. She looks like Sally Bowles while performing like a Weimar Kabrett host complete with German accent. She lent a classy air to the proceedings, singing songs like Brecht’s original ballad of Macheath and the Viennese precursor to Louis Prima’s, “Just a Gigolo.”
The show had completely sold out. The lines for beer were quite long. There was also bratwurst. The atmosphere was so energetic that it was easy to forget that it was a Sunday night. While it’s a bit larger than some of the smaller stages in town, The Best Place isn’t that big. The Sunday night crowd’s energy was nearly as impressive as anything that was going on onstage. I’ve rarely seen that much energy fill that small a space on any night of the week. So often there’s really nuanced material being presented on smaller stages that takes advantage of the intimate environment, but here the energy brought into the space by the audience made it feel larger than life. Congratulations to Marquardt and company on a successful sold-out one-night-only event.
For more information about upcoming performances (which feel more or less pleasantly inevitable at this stage) visit Schmutziges Deutsche Kabarett’s Facebook page.