Review: La Cage aux Folles
by Richard Lutz
Do you like your feathers, your sequins, your script as camp as a Danny la Rue dressing room?
If you like it zingy, OTT and naughtily fun, then La Cage aux Folles at The Birmingham Hippodrome is for you.
If you find it cheesy, tacky, OTT and simply ludicrous….well, maybe this production is still for you.
Remember, this play is more than three decades old. And back in 1983 when it first hit Broadway, it smashed hardcore barriers about portraying a gay couple as simply two fellas living out a domestic life. In its own flashy cheeky, way, it was a revolution on stage.
Back then, it was eye-catching for a straight audience. Today, it makes perfect sense. Funny and enjoyable, perfect sense.
John Partridge (from 'Eastenders') is a drag star crossdresser married to club owner Georges (Adrian Zmed) in St Tropez. All is fun, zip and dazzle. But then Georges’ natural son rolls in to announce he is marrying the daughter of a fire breathing right wing politician, a fictional le Pen actually, who wants to shut down gay theatres.
Boom and voila... a plot and script with plenty of laughs laden with double entendres and whip sharp one liners.
Partridge steals the show in his evening gowns and big time costumes. He can sing, and belts out the rafter-lifting song 'I Am What I Am' to a standing ovation from a decidedly sympathetic audience. His comic timing is spot on too as he counterpoints his drag personae with a Northern accent as wide as The Humber. Zmed has the (ahem) straighter role but pulls off songs that reveal his own Broadway chops. Marti Webb puts in a perky cameo as their pal that saves the day. And bringing pizzazz to the show is costume designer Gary McCann who dresses and delivers a chorus line of cross dressing hoofers right into your lap with sequins, feather, great wigs, high-heeled leather boots, ostrich feathers and panache.
It’s a corker of a production if - and we say if - you want something flamboyant , deliciously clever, camp and hilarious. It runs until Saturday, 20th May. Book
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