La Cage Aux Folles at The Liverpool Empire

Posted on 5 July 2017
By Janie Phillips
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La Cage Aux Folles is recognised as one of the world’s finest modern musicals and has been entertaining audiences for decades. Written originally as a French stage farce by playwright Jean Poiret in 1973 the play has taken on many appearances. It was adapted for the big screen in 1978, and was followed by the musical version scripted by Harvey Fierstein and composed by Jerry Herman where in 1983 it premiered at the Colonial Theatre in Boston.

The play tells the story of Albin and Georges, a gay couple that run a Saint-Tropez drag nightclub. Georges has a son from a previous relationship, Jean -Michel, who falls in love and wants to bring his fiancée home as her parents want to meet his.

The only problem is his future in-laws have very strong issues about homosexuals and as Albin is the clubs main attraction (the gorgeous but demanding Zsa Zsa) Jean-Michel is adamant that his real mother, Cybil, should be present. Things do not go to plan and what unfolds is an uproarious performance from Albin who cannot help but be who he is.

Taking on the role of Albin is John Partridge who warmed the hearts of the audience very quickly with his cheeky, warm and outrageous performance. There are many layers to Albin, a performer, lover and mother to Jean-Michel that in the moments where we see Albin for who he really is, it is very moving to watch. Partridge’s solo number of ‘We Are What We Are’ is one of the highlights of the show; he has an enormous singing voice that is completely in par with the enormity of Albin’s personality.

By his side as always is Georges, his long time partner played by Adrian Zmed, as is often the case in love stories, these two have some of the more poignant scenes in the show where the softer side of their relationship is seen. Zmed is strong in vocals as was proven with ‘Song on the Sand’.

Samson Ajewole plays Jacob the butler, who naturally prefers to dress as a maid, and became a firm favourite with the audience with his outrageous costumes and catwalk swagger. And the crafty Jacqueline is played wonderfully by Marti Webb, bringing another stunning voice and performance to the stage.

The set switches easily from the colourful, glitzy stage of the club complete with red plush curtains and a ritzy staircase; a challenge for anyone to complete unharmed in six inch heels, to Albin and Georges apartment just above. Costumes aplenty as the show moves along and the chorus line’s numbers gets bigger and brasher thanks to the tight chorography of Bill Deamer. Not even the sound desk crashing in the first half could faze this company, they simply took it in their stride and picked up where they left off.

This is such a feel good show that is filled with a wonderful set and flamboyant costumes, high kicking, leg swinging dancers and the most stunning vocals. It is a show with real heart and one that you will be booking to see again and again.

La Cage Aux Folles runs from 04 – 07July 2017.
PR Rating: ***** Stunning
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