The World Goes Round

Rated 3.0 The world’s gone ’round quite a few times since John Kander and Fred Ebb wrote many of the songs in this tasty little dinner-theater revue. And, though the melodies are still catchy and many of the situations are timeless, some of the topical references in the lyrics are showing signs of age.

For example, there’s the funny but cynical “Money, Money” song from Cabaret (“it makes the world go round”) referring to the deutschmark and the franc—currencies that have disappeared in favor of the euro.

In another song, a husband-hunting 30-something meets the man of her dreams in Dubrovnik, and it turns out he lives in an apartment right next door to her own apartment back in New York. Dubrovnik’s still there, but it’s no longer part of Yugoslavia; Croatia declared its independence more than a decade ago.

And there’s the reference to Easy Off oven cleaner—a venerable brand name that’s marketed toward greasy barbecue grills these days. Your typical oven is self-cleaning nowadays.

These are quibbles. It’s the craftsmanship of the songs that matters, and Kander and Ebb turned out plenty of good songs in the Broadway style, like the humorous “Coffee in a Cardboard Cup,” and a couple of classics, “Cabaret” and “New York, New York” being the most famous.

The show isn’t framed with a beginning-middle-and-end plot but with songs sequenced for thematic flow, and each number contains a viewpoint character. Director Barbara Valente has done a very good job of mixing in visual surprises along the lines of roller skates, banjos and bells. Valente also gets her cast to embody the emotional range of the songs, from romantic love and even a marriage proposal, to a professional who has her sexual needs serviced by the efficient “Arthur in the Afternoon.” He takes plastic; reservations recommended.

The cast (Gro Bondevik, Ricky Culbertson, Abby Parker, Stephen Quinn and Summer Wiseman) works well as an ensemble in terms of vocal harmony, physical comedy and onstage chemistry. Culbertson makes good use of pretty-boy looks and curly hair; Bondevik, who’s appeared in many shows in Stockton, also leaves a favorable first impression.

But a few problems crop up when the cast members sing individually. Their voices aren’t particularly big, and, though I could make out the words, the same could not be said for several seniors in the capacity audience at last Sunday’s matinee.

The World Goes Round features a 6 p.m. dinner and 8 p.m. show Thursday, Friday and Saturday; and an 11 a.m. brunch and 12:30 p.m. matinee on Sunday. $29-$34. A special New Year’s Eve performance with dancing after the show is $69. Garbeau’s Dinner Theatre, 12401 Folsom Boulevard, Rancho Cordova, 985-6361. Through January 5.