Review: Kisageetin: A Cabaret

By Adelina Fabiano

Standing ovation for a powerful, poetic and passionate cabaret at a Toronto Theatre!

Bring together a sexy powerful voice, a sassy sax player and charming pianist and storyteller…and what do you get? Kisageetin: A Cabaret! With only one performance to go at the Canadian Stage Berkeley St theatre, this cabaret was worth running to (in spite of the G20 mayhem!). Playing in the intimate and characteristic space of one of the Berkeley theatres, this superb show deserves the accolades it is about to receive!

Produced by Miziwe Biik Development Corporation (MBDC) and written by the talented Tomson Highway, this two hour production inspires and impassions, heightening our emotions.

 The show features the sexy vocals of Patricia Cano reciting various letters found by a postal worker. After having worked in a small town Ontario postal office for over 20 years, this “post mistress” begins to develop a sort of emotional connection to each letter writer. Each letter is then exposed to us through song.

Patricia Cano’s delivery of each letter to the audience is unique, seductive and playful. We are simply enchanted by this sultry singer whose powerful voice overtook this small space. As she moved gracefully from one song to the next, I felt as if she was singing only to me.

 Accompanying this charming woman is of course, the songwriter and pianist himself, Tomson Highway, well known for many Canadian plays and novels focusing on aboriginal life. I felt honoured to be in the same room with this “Renaissance man”. During every transition, he took the time to connect with his audience. He is as sincere, honest and endearing as his plays.

 My favourite ‘song-letter’ of the evening was Some Say a Rose, written in the Cree language. The song spoke to us about love and respect for the earth. The audience was quiet yet responsive at the same time, listening carefully to every passing moment.

 The skilled saxophonist, Christopher Plock delighted us with his jazzy solos. As someone who watches more theatre than listens to jazz, I can truly say, I have a new found passion for the genre after tonight’s show. Where can I hear him at next?

 In all honesty, I did not know what to expect this evening. I prefaced the evening by telling my guest, “I really know nothing about this production, so I hope you’ll just sit back and relax”. Well, in spite of my ignorance, my guest was grateful that I took him.

 The stage included three multi-talented artists, with their respective instruments- a beautiful black piano, a microphone stand, and a saxophone. The romantic lighting was as magical as the voices, words and instruments themselves.

 I felt momentarily transported to an old cabaret on the hills of Montemarte, Paris, listening to artists as talented as Edith Piaf and Maurice Chevalier.

 As someone who collects old stationary, I grabbed my hidden fountain pen in my top drawer and began the task of letter writing to an old friend back home. Perhaps there is a reason why I’m still not on Facebook. There is something special about this lost art form. It’s personal and heartfelt, like this evening’s mesmerizing performance.

Details:

Kisageetin: A Cabaret is playing at the Berkely St Theatre (downstairs space) located at 26 Berkeley St Theatre from June 24, 25, 26 at 8pm and June 27 ( matinee) 2010. 

 Tickets are $25 and are available through the Canadian Stage box office at 416-368-3310 or at www.canadianstage.com

 Photograph of Tomson Highway taken by Peter Puna