Tag Archives: Playhouse Theatre

Theatre Review: La Cage aux Folles

2 Mar

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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!

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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

Addendum:
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

Theatre trotting in March

1 Mar

First off, I want to say that I did well last month for I did not skip any of the six productions I have booked, so pat me in the back please! Our party almost missed Zorro on the 02/02 because of the heavy snow that London and most of the UK experienced but as they cancelled the show, we were entitled to rebook. Thanks to SEE tickets who were very understanding and helpful. Speaking of Zorro, the bad news came out last month that Zorro is definitely closing and this is due to recasting issues. The last I heard and this is straight from their website is that Zorro will embark on nine confirmed future international productions including France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Japan, Korea and Russia. The mark of Zorro lives indeed!

So what am I seeing in March then?

2- La Cage aux Folles, Playhouse Theatre

I wasn’t really planning on seeing this but after having read several enthusiastic reviews and really good word-of-mouth vibe about the performances and how it’s such a feel good production, I was left with little choice. As I am seeing it tomorrow night and have never been to the Playhouse, I am trying to navigate my way to get there.

6- Zorro, Garrick Theatre
Playing until March 14

I have a ticket to see Mrs Affleck at the Cottesloe but as most of those I know who have already seen the production loathed it, a couple of them walking out in the interval even, I thought, well what’s the point? Okay, I would lose my hard earned £10 but it’s better than a wasted Friday evening when I know I could be having more fun in seeing Zorro for the 3rd and last time! I missed Matt Rawle in my second viewing so I am hoping that he is back for this.

13- Duet for One, Almeida

Seeing this play was decided after watching the National’s Every Good Boy Deserves Favour with fellow theatre trotter Lynne back in January. Now almost at the end of its run and with tickets sold out I am pleased we did book tickets as it has received very good reviews here and here. Now that’s another Friday evening to look forward to!

17- War Horse, Olivier, National Theatre

This is really more like a box ticking exercise to say that yes, its that Michael Morpurgo recreation and I have seen it. When I first started going to the National in 2008, and missed War Horse the year before, I was advised that if it should have another staging that I make a point in booking it. I have also been warned about it but if it fails to capture my imagination, and as I am catching a matinee performance, all is not lost as I have another play to see afterwards. But I want it to be good!

17- Dido, Queen of Carthage, Cottesloe, National Theatre

Would saying I am curious about Christopher Marlowe’s work suffice for my booking this?

So with back to back plays, it’s really going to be a day out at the National, missing SRB like crazy, but also looking forward to meet Abigail!

20- On the Waterfront, Haymarket Theatre Royal

Making sure that I must have seen Stephen Berkoff in at least a film of two, I checked out his CV in IMDb and found that he was in Revolution with Al Pacino but I so hated that film and I barely remember him in it. But yes, he was also in Octopussy, Rambo II, and Beverly Hills Cop among others, so okay I do know the man. Anyway, his involvement with On the Waterfront is enough to get excited but it took a few good word of mouth for this production that behooved me to finally book it. Not having seen the Elia Kazan film with a younger Marlon Brando, I still have the time to do so before sinking my teeth into it!

27- Dimetos, Donmar Warehouse

Jonathan Pryce. The Donmar. Enough said.

So what are you seeing in the theatre this month?