Tuesday 16 January 2018

Review: La Cage Aux Folles at the Bord Gais Energy Theatre

La Cage Aux Folles, Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, Dublin.

Image: La Cage Aux Folles/Pamela Raith Photography
Image: La Cage Aux Folles/Pamela Raith Photography
Image: La Cage Aux Folles/Pamela Raith Photography

Katy Hayes

Bill Kenwright presents this new UK production of the Riviera-set showbiz romp, hitting Dublin early in its tour.

Gay man Georges and his transvestite, possibly transgender, partner Albin have raised George’s son Jean-Michele as a couple. The son wants to get married and to introduce his fiancée’s ultra-conservative parents to his family. He demands that Albin be banished from proceedings, and his estranged biological mother be produced. Albin, who has been a mother to Michel all his life, is deeply hurt and has the songs to prove it.

What ensues is a farce with a serious core. This battle between the forces of conservatism and liberalism feels like it is on a forever revival loop in the real world as well as on the stage.

The chorus is all men in drag, doing traditionally female dances, including an ostrich-feather fan routine and a balletic can-can. Much mirth is to be found in the various constructed gender-behaviours, as when John Wayne is invoked as a tool to teach manliness.

Image: La Cage Aux Folles/Pamela Raith Photography
Image: La Cage Aux Folles/Pamela Raith Photography

John Partridge, best known from Eastenders, plays Albin as a complex male/female hybrid. Feminine when at home, in his drag act as Zaza he skillfully pumps up the audience with a masculine energy. Adrian Zmed, of T.J. Hooker fame, delivers a winning Georges. Both leads create performances with an informal air and pack a strong emotional punch.

Excellent design by Gary McCann uses a versatile proscenium shape, a dominant peacock motif as well as plenty of red velour and gold fringe.

Some audio problems with a mic on opening night provided a minor glitch in the otherwise glittering high-energy hilarity.

Online Editors

Promoted Links

Entertainment Newsletter

Going out? Staying in? From great gigs to film reviews and listings, entertainment has you covered.

Promoted Links

Editors Choice

Also in Entertainment