La Cage Aux Folles is one of the classic modern musicals and it was in barnstorming force at the Birmingham Hippodrome last night, receiving a glorious standing ovation for an audience that had laughed, cried and been charmed by John Partridge and Adrian Zmed in the lead roles. The story of love and acceptance seems more apt than ever in our modern society where politicians like Dindon seem to becoming more and more prevalent.
La Cage Aux Folles is the most glitziest, glamorous nightclub/revue on the French Riviera, and Albin, as Zsa Zsa is it’s most famous (drag) star. In a happy relationship with club owner Georges for over 20 years, Albin is a temperamental diva, but an undoubted star with a heart of gold, and totally devoted to Georges and his son Jean-Michele, who he has raised as his own. But when Jean Michele reveals he is going to marry Anne, the daughter of homophobic politician Dindon, Georges and Albin are forced into desperate measures in order to hide the nature of their relationship, leading to hilarious scenes as first Albin poses as ‘Uncle Albert’ and then as Jean Michele’s mother. Can true love win over prejudice and hatred?
John Partridge is fast becoming a Birmingham Treasure and this may well be his greatest performance yet. His Albin is a fascinating, wonderful creature, acerbically witty, fabulously diva-rish and so good in those showstopping numbers, particularly a striped back version of ‘I am what I am’ which was quite simply, spine tingling. He is wonderfully matched by Adrian Zmed who has charm in abundance as Georges. Almost a straight man (pardon the pun) to Georges, he delivery of funny one-liners is excellent, and in ‘Look over there’ he has is own heartbreaking musical moment.
The other standout role belongs to Samson Ajewole as the maid/butler Jacob. He is simply hilarious, playing his role as a Naomi Campbell style drag queen, complete with a cartoonish pratfall when finally taking to the stage. His stint as a George III style butler was simply hilarious.
The costumes and staging of La Cage add to the glitz and glamour of the proceedings, this is all about the beauty that can come from sequins, feathers and glitter, and the nightclub scenes are wonderfully decadent. The standout track ‘I am what I am’ is a total anthem that raises the roof with its life affirming message.
La Cage Aux Folles is a wonderfully shining piece of theatre with a beautiful message at its core. I loved it.
La Cage Aux Folles
I Am what I Am… Always!
Wed 17 – Sat 20 May
Click here for ticket information