Bord Gais Energy Theatre
Until 14 Jan 2017
If the title of this musical sounds familiar to you, but you can’t quite place it, let me put you out of your misery. La Cage Aux Folles is the musical that the film, The Birdcage, was based on. It’s also the show that gave us the iconic disco classic, I Am What I Am (although it is performed in a more heart wrenching style here).
If you’ve seen The Birdcage, you have probably already realised that this is a completely camptastic production. With more sequins than an entire series of Strictly Come Dancing, and more men in tights than Robin Hood, this, at its heart, is a comedy of errors.
La Cage Aux Folles stars former EastEnder, John Partridge (but don’t hold that against him as he actually has extensive West End credentials) and one-time T.J. Hooker heart throb, Adrian Zmed (he was also in Grease 2, but we don’t speak of that!) as Georges, and the dazzling drag-artiste Albin, whose happy world is shattered, when their son Jean-Michel comes home and announces he is marrying the daughter of a notorious right-wing politician.
The couple are at the heart of their locale’s nightlife, thanks to their lavish club, La Cage Aux Folles, where Albin is the star attraction. But with an imminent meeting with their in-laws on the horizon, the pair are forced to tone down their vibrant lifestyle, causing tensions between all involved.
This is probably one of the most lavish touring shows you will ever see. Everything, from the sets to the costumes to the wigs, is breathtaking! However, it is not style without substance, and is held together by some fantastically strong performances – particularly from John Partridge, who is simply amazing as Albin.
As certain scenes are set in a nightclub, it allows the cast to break the fourth wall, and John really embraces this element of the show, entertaining the audience as if it were his own private cabaret. Thanks to this element, the show is slightly different every time, which surely helps keep it fresh for both performers and audience.
He and Adrian have a fantastic chemistry, and deservedly got the biggest cheers at the curtain call on the evening I attended. It would have been very easy to imitate Robin Williams and Nathan Lane, as people in the audience will probably be more familiar with the movie than the show. However, they resist this temptation, and really make these roles their own.
Producer, Bill Kenwright, has done a fantastic job of bringing La Cage Aux Folles back to the stage, and the Bórd Gáis Energy Theatre is the perfect size for a show like this. It feels very intimate, despite being such a big production.
From the moment it starts, there is an overriding sense of fun. But that’s not to say you won’t feel all the feels. Your heart will break for Albin at points, but overall this is a rollicking good ride, that will have you clapping and singing along.
A perfect antidote to the January blues, La Cage Aux Folles will leave you with a smile on your face well into the next day (and you will probably have an urge to wear sequins!).
Be warned though – if you are sitting near the front, John may single you out during his performance!
Le Cage Aux Folles
Bord Gais Energy Theatre, Dublin
Until 14 Jan 2017
Thurs Evenings – €30 – €50. Thurs Matinees – €20 – €40. Fri and Sat both performances – €40 – €60.
Group offers €5 off Groups 10+, Access bookings & General Concession (Children, Students & Seniors) Tues to Thurs
– By Frances Winston