Bringing Broadway to the suburbs of Montreal may seem like an unenviable task, but an entity that is always – and consistently – up to the challenge is the Côte Saint-Luc Dramatic Society. A two-time winner of the acclaimed Montreal English Theatre Award (META), the Society once again does not disappoint as that Big Apple vibe permeating the Harold Greenspon Auditorium draws one in like a moth to a flame, and implores one to absorb, ponder, and even sing and dance their way through a superb, eye-opening interpretation of the groundbreaking, thought provoking show that’s wowed audiences big and small from its 1966 inception as a Broadway musical (adapted from the book by Joe Masteroff, itself gleaned from the 1951 book I Am a Camera) to its London 1980’s revival and onward.
Here under the watchful eye, keen mind and visionary and purposeful direction of Quebec Drama Federation president and the Dramatic Society’s founding Artistic Director Anisa Cameron, one’s eyes, ears and heart are treated to a take on a powerful and gripping – if not poignantly tragic – period in history sheathed in (and transposed against a backdrop of) carefree abandon and markedly decadent (though painfully ironic) joie de vivre. The ears are treated to – and sweetly regaled by – an unmitigated extraordinary live band; one’s senses are effortlessly mesmerized by the energetic yet nuanced performances by gifted stage commanders like Jeanne Motulsky, Craig Dalley, Calder Levine and Linda Babins, among many multitalented others.
For those unaccustomed to the sensory delights of brilliant community theatre, one really doesn’t know what they’ve been missing. Closing one’s eyes during this show feels like a first-class plane ticket to Broadway. Cameron and cast and crew have passionately brought to life the tale of an American writer arriving in Berlin at the time of the rise of the National Socialist Party in the 1930s and his misadventures and eventual passionate though abbreviated tryst with a powerfully assertive, tantalizing British lounge singer in a venue decadent enough to call itself the Kit Kat Klub. In there, life is grand and glamourous, while outside on the streets of Berlin it’s anything but, as dark clouds are looming ever larger. Even with eyes wide open, one may have to ask oneself if he or she is truly not in a legendary New York theatre, as this is a first-rate production all the way; just the live band itself is nothing short of breathtaking, a pithy paradise for the ears. Benjamin Kwong helms the musical aspect of the auditory tour-de-force, Alexia Gourd masterfully choreographing the sizzling stage story/contradiction-in-terms.
Put one’s dancing shoes on and fit one’s thinking cap on just right, and don’t forget to warm up and massage the heartstrings in advance before taking a V.I.P. seat in Cameron’s Exclusive Club until June 16th at the Harold Greenspon Auditorium, 5801 Cavendish Boulevard in Côte Saint-Luc.
Get your tickets through www.showtix4u.com or call the box office at: (514) 485-6900 or (514) 485-6806. You can also visit the Côte Saint-Luc Dramatic Society online at www.CSLDramaticSociety.com .