Reviews

 
 
 
 Cayman in Jacques Brel at ACT. Photo by Mark Kitaoka.

Cayman in Jacques Brel at ACT. Photo by Mark Kitaoka.

Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris

For their annual coproduction, ACT and the 5th Avenue Theatre are gifting us with a splendid revival of "Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris." David Armstrong's graceful staging features a capable five-piece combo backing a quintet of Seattle's finest actor-singers, who pour their hearts into Brel's timeless musical ruminations on l'amour, la vie, le mort, and la guerre... There is the enduring "Sons Of...," a paean to the individual humanity of the war dead... performed with piercing, waltztime anguish by Cayman Ilika... Ilika applies her silky alto and potent expressiveness to "No Love, You're Not Alone," a haunting entreaty to a lover on the edge... - Misha Berson, The Seattle Times

 

And speaking of the singers, a finer ensemble they could not have assembled but what do you expect when you get some of the finest performers who have repeatedly graced the stages of the 5th Avenue and Village Theatre.  Eric Ankrim, Louis Hobson... Cayman Ilika, Kendra Kassebaum, and Timothy McCuen Piggee turned in near flawless performances and owned every inch of that stage.  Each one managed to take their moments to shine in their solos and still kept a tight ensemble in the group numbers... But it was the ladies who really blew me away.  Ilika's haunting "Timid Frieda" as well as "Sons Of..." showed off what a stunning singer and actor she is. - Jay Irwin, BroadwayWorld

 

Cayman Ilika brought enormous beauty, elegance, and musical finish to every number she did.  I especially liked "No Love, You're Not Alone" because of its richness, sweetness, and maurity. - Jerry Kraft, SeattleActor.com

 

Kendra Kassebaum, Louis Hobson, Eric Ankrim, Cayman Ilika, and Timothy McCuen Pigee are all comsummate performers of the highest order, and they can crack open Brel's musical jewels, each practically a self-contained play, with ease... Some songs stand out - Ilika's tender "The Old Folks" and transformational "Timid Freida..." - Gemma Wilson, City Arts

 

Cayman Ilika has appeared numerous times on the 5th Avenue (Oliver!, Candide) and ACT (Vanities - A New Musical) stages.  Her voice is pure and clear and a powerful instrument.  While we have to wait until almost the end of Act 1 for her solo, when she delivers, she delivers!  Her pride, power and anguish can be felt in the songs "Sons of" in the First Act, and "No Love, You're Not Alone" in the Second Act. - Eric Andrews-Katz, Seattle Gay News...

 
 Cayman as Mary Poppins at Village Theatre. Photo by Mark Kitaoka.

Cayman as Mary Poppins at Village Theatre. Photo by Mark Kitaoka.

Mary Poppins

It's Ilika and Allen who have to carry the show, and they do so with grace and aplomb.  Ilika feels like she could have stepped right off the pages of Travers' books with her spit spot attitude and her voice utterly shines in the role. - Jay Irwin, BroadwayWorld

 

The primly magical uber-nanny invented by write P.L. Travers has logged a lot of flying miles and adds more to the odometer in Village Theatre's staging of the hit Broadway musical 'Mary Poppins.' Yes, Mary does alight here - most satisfyingly at the end, when she soars above the audience to enthusiastic applause.  Wired for flight, in sparkling voice and trim suits of different hues, Cayman Ilika is fetchingly unflappable as Ms. Poppins.  - Misha Berson, The Seattle Times

 

Like Julie Andrews, Cayman Ilika wisely tones down the arrogant aspects of Mary's personality in favor of subtle humor and clever reverse psychology.  She is alternately enigmatic, brusque, beguiling, and practically perfect.  For a final breathtaking thrill, Cayman Ilika flies out and over the audience to the balcony and disappears.  In moments like these, the magic of theatre becomes something that is truly beyond wonderous and awe-inspiring. -Dewey Mee, Daily Reporter

 

Cayman Ilika gives Mary Poppins an authority coupled with a smile that makes you want to do whatever she asks, and wow, can she sing. - Nancy Worssam, Arts Stage Seattle Rage blog

 

As Mary, Ilika is unflappably perfect, with the right touches of warmth, firmness and humor, and incredible vocals. - Elisa Murray, Parent Map

 

In a previous interview with the Reporter, Ilika said she wasn't Julie Andrews, and while she may not be, she embodies Mary Poppins and is 'Practically Perfect in every way,' capturing the audience's attention from the first snap of her fingers. - Josh Stilits, Reporter Newspapers

 

Anticipation for Village Theatre's production of 'Mary Poppins' ran high, especially after casting was announced of Cayman Ilika as Mary Poppins and Greg McCormick Allen as Bert.  Both have every attribute you would want for those roles, and each is as professional a pro can be in delivering the goods!  And so it is no surprise at all that they do so in spades! - Miryam Gordon, Miryam's Theater Musings

 

...It was a big parasol that Village Theatre's Cayman Ilika had to wield.  Previously heard in Village Theatre's 'Show Boat' and 'The Gypsy King,' Ilika's voice was powerful and intimate, providing the emotional center to the story.  I've attended many an opening performance at Village Theatre.  Few productions have left the audience more enthusiastic at the end for a well-deserved standing ovation. - David Hayes, Issaquah Press

 

As for the title character, Mary Poppins has to balance being firm with and undercurrent of kindness, which can't be an easy task for any actress.  Cayman Ilika leans more to the stern side, but plays Mary with unquestionable grace.  Her incredible singing voice rings loud and clear across the theater. -Kelly Knox, Seattle's Child

 
 Cayman as Kathy in Vanities at ACT. Photo by Chris Bennion.

Cayman as Kathy in Vanities at ACT. Photo by Chris Bennion.

Vanities - A New Musical

Cayman Ilika is fascinating as the enigmatic Kathy, and employs her rich, lower vocal tones with a near hypnotic skill. - David-Edward Hughes, Talkin' Broadway

Cayman Ilika is Kathy, head cheerleader and control freak of the trio; her gorgeous voice soars in the plaintive “Cute Boys with Short Haircuts”. - Miya Cohen-Sieg, Queen Anne News

Ilika (Kathy) outdoes herself with a rich and melodic voice that she seems to project effortlessly. You don't have to be a great singer to play in a musical, but Ilika's voice would be enough on its own. - Safaa D., TeenTix