Review: "Character Breakdown: A Cabaret" at The Winery At St. George

Chris Peterson

When I was in college, I wanted to create a production which consisted entirely of journal entries. I wanted to see a show based on the inner thoughts and feelings of the actors on stage. It never came to fruition but it's something I've wanted to see for a while. Luckily, last week I was able to see just that. 

Character Breakdown: A Cabaret is a one woman show by Ashley Wool. The show features some fantastic and brutally honest narratives on various subjects from auditioning, to working as a barista, love and even a dab of politics. These detailed and revealing anecdotes serve as clever segues into great musical performances. 

Ms Wool, a 2015 OnStage Critics Award Nominee, shows off an impressive range and power with her vocals. Whether it's bringing the right amount of personality to "Buenos Aires" from Evita or smoothness to "Easy to be Hard" from Hair. 

The highlight for me was her rendition of "Sheridan Square", a little known song by Alen Manken and Howard Ashman, which the music was provided exclusively by Ashman's sister, Sarah Ashman Gillepsie. The song talks about losing friends to AIDS. It asks this chilling question several times, but it ends on a note of hope, promising that “We can make it until the sun comes up.” Ms. Wool gave this song its due with thoughtful soft vocals providing a poignant moment in the evening. 

While the show, is a very much a work in progress, it has a lot of potential. While talking about the struggles of trying to "make it" is nothing new to cabaret shows, Ms. Wool brings a certain authenticity and personality in her writing which this particularly memorable.