Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre

Directed by Douglas E. Stark and Eddie Curry

Through Oct. 1

Even Beef & Boards is getting into the Fringe atmosphere. Cabaret is a slightly risqué production for the dinner theater, but B&B pulls it off, making even the grit of 1930s Berlin look elegant.

Buddy Reeder is the MC, crawling around on a crooked proscenium like some kind of deranged Spiderman. While maintaining the slightly creepy MC persona, he gives a smooth performance and glides through his musical numbers seemingly effortlessly, aided by the five Kit Kat Girls, who are sufficiently sexy.

Taking up the crux of the story are Erica Hanrahan as Sally Bowles and David Schmittou as Clifford Bradshaw. Hanrahan’s abandon is a perfect foil for Schmittou’s all-American boy. They take the lead roles well. They are joined by JoEllyn Young as Fraulein Schneider and Douglas E. Stark as Herr Schultz. Young is a motherly Fraulein Schneider and exhibits a lovely and poignant voice. But Stark, no matter how cute and Santa Claus-like he is, can’t handle the vocal numbers in this show.

Michael Layton’s scenic and lighting design and Thom Hoffman’s costuming capture the dark atmosphere of the times. Gone is the bright, up-beat sets that so often grace the B&B stage; instead, the dark and pending chaos is hinted at.

Now open is the Producer’s Table. Recent audience members may have wondered at the room near the sound box. Parties of two to six can reserve this private room overlooking the theater. They will have their own server and buffet, and sound is miked in from the actors, orchestra and even over the audience. It’s a cozy little retreat. Call B&B for details.

Cabaret will continue at B&B through Oct. 1. Tickets are $29-$51. Call B&B, 9301 N. Michigan Road, at 317-872-9664 for reservations.



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