The first UK tour of La Cage aux Folles is taking place, and last night it was its opening night in Leeds. The hit musical is on at Leeds Grand Theatre until March 25th and then will continue its tour until the end of August, when even more dates could be announced. (Hopefully!!)
Harvey Fierstein and Jerry Herman’s show is based on the 1973 French play of the same name by Jean Poiret, and is the story of a gay couple, hiding their identity for the sake of their son’s recent engagement. Songs from the show include “The Best of Times” and “I Am What I Am”, which have the audience dancing and singing along. This is a musical comedy of the highest standard and if you can get tickets in Leeds over the next few days, or anytime on the tour, I recommend you do. My family and I had a hilarious time and were delightfully entertained. Only in the interval were my eyes taken away from the stage – only to talk about what a great show we were witnessing.
The production star’s the fabulous John Partridge as Albin, the most dramatic, drag queen star act Zaza at the La Cage aux Folles nightclub. His energy throughout the performance was incredible. There are sections were the audience are entertained by the stand-up comedy of Zaza and his taunting and insulting of select audience members had the rest of us in stitches. I was upset not to have been sat at the front of the stalls to get some attention. His magnificent, glamorous, lavish character does experience tragedy and there are some very heart-breaking moments. Partridge’s talents are fully explored through the comedy, dancing and his voice is something to die for. I was incredibly impressed with this tone, diction and belting. What I enjoyed the most were the little moments where Partridge would laugh and smile on stage – this showed me that he was really enjoying the performance and his experience which is wonderful to see.
Adrian Zmed does an excellent job of playing the husband, father, club-owner, presenter and many more, keeping Zaza in check and calm. Together, they are a perfect balance of comedy/tragedy and lust/love. The entire cast need credit for their vocal and dancing talents, endless energy and extra points to the chorus of boys and make-up entertaining at Le Cage Aux Folles, because my auntie turned to me and said “wait, are they all men?” so you were very convincing as women.
The costumes are spectacular. Glitter and glimour spread across the stage, literally. Very aesthetically pleasing for the audience, who I could tell, enjoyed the lavish, garish, daring outfits. The set design matches the costumes by being bright and bold and in the couple’s apartment there are some surprising features.
This show is a feel-good, fun evening out and I think everyone needs to experience the story of Le Cage aux Folles, especially with such a devoted, dazzling cast.