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Producer: Bill Kenwright
Director: Martin Connor
Choreographer: Bill Deamer
Designer: Gary McCann
Lighting: Ben Cracknell
Sound: Dan Samson
Musical Director: Mark Crossland
Music and Lyrics: Jerry Herman
Book: Harvey Fierstein
Cast: John Partridge, Adrian Zmed, Dougie Carter, Samson Ajewole, Su Douglas, Marti Webb, Alexandra Robinson, Paul F Monaghan, Jon De Ville, Luke Byrne, Jane Quinn, Rachel Cumino, Jordan Livesey, Liam Paul Jennings, Louie-
The first UK tour outing of this 1983 classic certainly doesn’t disappoint when it comes to flamboyant spectacle, camp comedy and quintessential Broadway song and dance routines. Set around the world of a French drag night club, owned by Georges (Adrian Zmed) with his leading lady and lover Albin (John Partridge), the plot revolves around the betrothal of Georges’ son Jean-
It feels both thoroughly modern and at the same time classical. Barring one odd choice of costume for Anne, which seemed to be straight off the set of Flashdance, the setting was timeless. I am pleased a decision was taken to cast “accent-
The unmistakable star of the show is John Partridge who has nailed the Drag persona with natural ease. He appears both beautiful and grotesque in equal measure, with all the personality and energy of a true West End leading lady. He excels in comic moments, and really knows how to riff with an audience. Particular highlights were frequent mentions of the show Sunny Afternoon, which the New Wimbledon Theatre are promoting aggressively at the moment.
Adrian Zmed plays a very likeable Georges, with lovely rich singing tones, although he doesn’t quite match Partridge’s energy until the second act. Marti Webb, as the small but imperative character Jacqueline, was as excellent as you would expect of the veteran musical theatre star and a slight shame that she was so rarely on stage. Dougie Carter is utterly charming as the young lover Jean-
The first act suffered from pacing problems, but this may be the piece itself rather than this production. Cabaret numbers aside, the songs seemed to slow the story down, rather than add to it. The drag ensemble, as Les Cagelles, perform Bill Deamer’s choreography wonderfully, although at times one wished for a little more precision. A feathery Fosse inspired number and lively tap number reminds one why Deamer is one of the most in demand choreographers today.
A drag show relies heavily on thrilling costumes and Gary McCann’s designs do not disappoint. The set is also lavish and plentiful compared to what I have come to expect from a similar scale of touring show in recent years.
La Cage aux Folles continues at New Wimbledon Theatre until Saturday 18th March and tours thereafter.
Dates and tickets below…
30 May -
27 Jun -
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