Despite the razzmatazz of Kelli Edwards's choreography, which mocks more than exudes carnality, and the sexually suggestive prancing and dancing of Kuntz and the Kit Kat ensemble (all accompanied by musical director Todd C. Gordon's capable, drag-accessorized band), it is the scenes outside the club that work best at New Rep. It's back at the boarding house, removed from the stridency of an enforced good time, that David Krinitt's sheepish Cliff tries to make an honest woman of Aimee Doherty's gin-swilling, promiscuous, but still touchable Sally and Cheryl McMahon's rueful Fräulein Schneider makes the hard choices regarding Paul D. Farwell's adorably gnomic, see-no-evil Schultz. It's here, arguably on the periphery of what was — and remains — daring about Cabaret, that Lombardo's production exhibits an emotional strength and old-fashioned charm.
Krinitt is a somewhat bland if sincere performer — qualities that serve him well as the ambiguous Cliff, who finally, aggressively, perceives the poison behind the melodious patriotism of Kander & Ebb's Nazi anthem, "Tomorrow Belongs to Me." Doherty recognizes the prim English girl hiding beneath Sally's hard-edged, good-time bravado, and she issues the show's rallying invitation to "come to the cabaret" with the right mix of heartbreak and defiance. Even better is McMahon's shrewdly pragmatic, vocally skilled but guttural Fräulein Schneider. She's a dab of Lotte Lenya in a production that could use a bigger helping.
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