Plot: The idyllic existence of Georges (Steven Pacey) and the dazzling drag artiste Albin (Graham Norton), star of the La Cage aux Folles club, is threatened when Georges’ son Jean-Michele (Stuart Neal) announces his engagement to the daughter of a right-wing politician (Iain Mitchell), who wants to close down the local colourful nightlife! With a visit from the prospective in-laws imminent, they all decide to take drastic action to hide their lifestyle…but can they keep it up? La Cage aux Folles is a timeless and deliciously funny tale of family values, unconditional love, and above all, the need to be proud of who we are.
It was my work colleague and fellow theatre trotter Anatole who gave me the heads up to see La Cage aux Folles. Not knowing how to get to the Playhouse I only relied on the maps feature of my uber cool phone, but it was the kindness of a fellow bus 24 passenger that helped me navigate my way. I got there just after 1900 and was kindly told by the ushers that my ticket will be upgraded, but it looks like everybody else have been extended the same generosity. Oh dont you just love Monday nights at the theatre? So from my Upper Circle A row tickets, I am now sitting comfortably at the Dress Circle A row.
As the overture was being played, I remember being asked that if my life was to be made into a film or a play, what type would it be? Is it going to be full on drama, suspense, romantic comedy or horror. I thought, my life will make a good musical, lots of singing, a few dancing maybe, and not a lot of dialogue, and I sensed that just at listening to LCAF’s overture, this was a musical about real life, and that’s why its message spoke strongly. I loved everything about it but it was Herman’s music and Fierstein’s libretto that really suck me in, all I could think of all evening was downloading the whole album from iTunes as soon as I got home!
First off, Les Cagelles were just fantastic! Their routines are really physical and yet very graceful. As for Graham Norton who took over Douglas Hodge when it was still at the Menier Chocolate Factory, I thought his performance as Albin and as Zaza was amazing! I have read in earlier reviews that he can hardly carry a note, well, not tonight. I thought he sung very well and was very comfortable doing so. I was in stitches when he tried to impersonate Sybil, Jean Michele’s mother who couldnt make it to the family dinner to meet the Dindons. Steven Pacey as Georges could lull me to sleep with his singing for all I care. When he sang With You On My Arm then Song on the Sand, I was weak on the knee. Then he did it again when he sang the emotional Look Over There, and I thought, that’s it, I love him already! Stuart Neal was excellent when he sang With Anne In My Arm, he kinda reminds me of Alex Waldmann who is at the Donmar’s Twelfth Night, and Jason Pennycooke as Jacob dancing as Anne was hilarious! The Best of Times sums it all up really for La Cage aux Folles is all that. It’s a gem.
La Cage aux Folles: 4/5
Playing at the Playhouse Theatre until 26 September
The Laurence Olivier nominations for La Cage aux Folles
Best Musical Revival
Best Actor in a Musical – Douglas Hodge
Best Actor in a Musical – Denis Lawson
Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical – Jason Pennycooke
Best Director – Terry Johnson
Best Choreographer – Lynne Page
Best Costume Design – Matthew Wright