Reviewed at: Nottingham’s Theatre Royal
Set in a nightclub in the south of France, La Cage Aux Folles follows the chaos that ensues when drag artist Albin (Zaza being his alter ego) and his nightclub owning husband Georges prepare to meet their son Jean-Michel’s fiance and her very conservative parents.
John Partridge portrays Albin/Zaza and he is just magnificent to watch throughout. He is glamorous as Zaza and heartfelt as Albin. You can feel the heart and passion in his performance throughout. His vocals are strong with Jerry Harman’s music, and his rendition of ‘I Am What I Am’ at the end of act one is really a showstopper. You can just hear and feel the emotion he puts into it. There is a wonderful scene towards the end of the first act where Zaza is interacting with the audience. It’s a joy to watch and hilarious. John’s performance is one of the finest I’ve seen from a leading man in some time.
Adrian Zmed’s Georges is full of fine voice and charm as the nightclub owner, although he did stumble a few lines in the second half. Fine supporting performances come from Dougie Carter as Jean-Michel who brings another fine voice to the company and Marti Webb brings some theatrical class as Jacqueline. Alexandra Robinson adds a sparkle of beauty as Anne. Samson Ajewole is hilarious as housemaid Jacob, he steals the scene time after time in the most fabulous way.
The Les Cagells truly stand out, the drag artists, they bring sass and a bit of sex to the show. The moments are nothing short of stand out. Big numbers with fantastic costumes. After a time you do even forget that you’re watching men, some of them make beautiful women! Louie-George Daniels stands out as the most watchable, I couldn’t take my eyes off him. They’re just fabulous.
The set (and costumes) designed by Gary McCann are spectacular, transforming from the stage of the nightclub to Georges and Albin’s home effortlessly. There are some bright and bold costumes, Zaza’s peacock outfit being most memorable. These costumes are wonderful and are another star of the show.
The show is littered with some great songs, the already mentioned ‘I Am What I Am’ being the show’s most famous number, but other great songs ‘With You On My Arm’, ‘Masculinity’, We Are What We Are’ and my personal favourite ‘The Best Of Times’. Jerry Herman’s music is brilliantly performed by the entire company. The brilliant musicians under the direction of Mark Crossland sound fantastic throughout.
The show leaves you feeling wonderful, you leave the theatre feeling uplifted and with a really big smile on your face. We could have easily booked to see the show again for the evening performance had we not had another show to see that night. It’s such a tonic. It gave me feelings that I haven’t really had for a while from the theatre that this is why I love seeing shows. Pure theatrical joy. I highly recommend you catch the show on it’s UK tour.
La Cage Aux Folles tours the UK, currently booking until August. For more details and booking information please click here.