"Macbeth" the hard way: Caldwell directs Shakespeare

Shakespeare's Cabaret Directed by John Driver. Choreography by Lynne Taylor- Corbett. Musical entertainment with words by William Shakespeare. Concept and music by Lance Mulcahy.

As the poet-playwright for all seasons and (apparently) all purposes, William Shakespeare is the chosen lyricist for "Shakespeare's Cabaret," the modest and sometimes fetching little revue at the Bijou Theater. Culling the Bard's works, Lance Mulcahy has composed contemporary musical treatments to fit the texts, applying his own interpretive views to the subject in hand.

The show is a transplant from Off Off Broadway's Colonnades Theater Lab and, as is sometimes the case with such transplants, it seems a bit fragile for the more exacting demands of Broadway. The score's melodic lines have a tendency to run together like melting plastic.

The 28 numbers in the 90-minute program are drawn from Will's poetry as well as from a variety of comedies, dramas, and tragedies that would not shame Polonius's catalog. The accompaniments played by a backstage combo are in a variety of moods and rhythms, including jazz, pop-sentimental, soft rock, and Latin.

Among the more appealing Mulcahy compositions are the setting for "All That Glisters" and "Tell Me Where Is Fancy Bred?" ("The Merchant of Venice"), "Come Live With Me and Be My Love" (attributed to Christopher Marlowe), "Have More Than Thou Showest" ("King Lear"), "Tomorrow Is St. Valentine's Day" (Hamlet), and "The Willow Song" ("Othello").

But the songs are skillfully and enthusiastically performed by Alan Brasington, Catherine Cox, Pauletta Pearson, Patti Perkins, Larry Riley, and Michael Rupert.

John Driver staged the lively production, with choreography by Lynne Taylor-Corbett, arrangements and musical direction by Don Jones, scenery and costumes by Frank J. Boros, and lighting by Marc B. Weiss.

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