Wednesday, April 29, 2009

What A Drag! - La Cage Aux Folles - Musical Review

La Cage Aux Folles - Playhouse Theatre - London, UK - ***1/2 (out of 5)
Music and Lyrics by Jerry Herman, Book by Harvey Fierstein, Directed by Terry Johnson, Choreographed by Lynne Page

Years have passed since the original French play (in 1973) and the original French movie (in 1978) of the musical La Cage aux Folles and the acceptance of gays and drag queens in popular culture has come along way. Heck, it's come a long way since the Hollywood remake The Birdcage came out, and yet, maybe sometimes we haven't come as far as we had hoped. While the musical (originally premiered back in 1983) no longer shocks or surprises, the acceptance of LGBT's into society still resonates and puts a nice emotional core at the heart of this fun and frolicky musical. Because seriously, it's when the drag queens Les Cagelles come out, the show is a romp!

Graham Norton and Steven Pacey currently headline (until May 2nd) as Albin and Georges (respectively) and while Norton doesn't quite have the voice to knock out those Herman songs, his comedy background and hosting skills (most famously from his own hilarious talk show So Graham Norton) buoy his Zaza/Albin to entertaining heights, and he manages to pull off the emotional punches required from the songs his vocals can't.

Steven Pacey is terrifically solid as Georges. Stuart Neal manages to remain likable in the difficult role of Jean-Michelle, who essentially is a bit of a turd for wanting to hide his gay parents.

But the hardest workers are The Cagelles who do everything in their might to entertain us. And entertain us they do! As I always say, the party never really starts until the drag queens show up!

Vance at http://tapeworthy.blogspot.com


Rachel said...

I saw it in September with John Barrowman having just started his run in the Zaza role - it was a lot of fun, and he was hilarious. And I always forget just how catchy the songs are.

Vance said...

Oh, I would have LOVED to see it with John Barrowman!!!

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