La Cage Aux Folles – a glittery storm
La Cage aux Folles is translated from french, with the help of Babelfish as ‘the cage with the insane ones’, And wowsas, the mad birds were out in full force Saturday night!
La Cage aux Folles is a fabulously raucous evening in the theatre: what elaborate costumes, soaring voices and outrageous Cagelles! As you enter the theatre, Dolly Diamond is executing her cheeky warm up routine – don’t be late (or be a hot male) because she is out to getcha! The audience is ready and rowdy for the show as the wonderful orchestra begins.
John O’May is perfectly cast as Georges, the paternal yet showy owner and MC of La Cage aux Folles, a drag night club in St Tropez, France. John gave a splendidly solid performance as the gay father of a straight boy wanting to marry a prudish politician’s daughter.
Georges life partner (I know you all love that term) is the flamboyant Albion (played by David Rogers-Smith), who is also ‘Zaza’ – the star attraction of their club. Vocally strong, his performance was truly enjoyable, but lacked a consistent femininity. Much of the drama revolves around Albion being so boisterous and feminine that he could not appear ‘straight’ at a very important dinner party, however when Rogers-Smith was being fabulous, he was being very fabulous.
I would like to mention Nicholas Kong who plays their petulant butler Jacob (although he’d rather be called the maid, thank-you very much) who flaffs around giggling at compliments and throwing tantrums when he doesn’t get his way. Nicholas created some golden comedy moments and Francesca Arena as restaurant owner Jacqueline, and her puppy dog (yes, real puppy dog) almost steals the show in the song ‘Best of Times’!
The Cagelles are the fab drag queens playing the chorus at the club, and, refreshingly, each ensemble member was completely individual. I especially enjoyed Hanna the elegant and leggy cow, and Phaedra with the impressive tongue. All the Cagelles give plenty of attitude; as that one refuses to catch the other, that one can’t be bothered getting up because the next move is on the floor anyway and that one desperately wants to be in the front. However my laugh out loud moment was the scream and flail into the splits move. Priceless.
Isaac Lumis, costume designer on La Cage aux Folles must have been very busy bee as the the mind blowing costumes just kept on coming. I believe the Cagelles first number ‘We Are What We Are’ had at least three costumes alone: awesome. There was no shortage of glitter, feathers or faux fur and the detail and elegance to each piece was divine.
I loved this show so much that I forgave the accents coming and going but I was disappointed in the sound. Lines were missed and the balance in chorus numbers left a lot to be desired. That aside, Quirky productions must be very proud as to the over all quality of this co-op show.
It was just wonderful seeing a musical where homosexuality is displayed proudly and prominently and then to top it off, the show is a real hoot! La Cage aux Folles has great songs, hysterical choreography and is visually fabulous.
La Cage Aux Folles
|Review Date:||Saturday 17 March 2012|
|Venue:||The National Theatre, St Kilda|
|Phone:||(03) 9525 4611|