Review: La Cage Aux Folles, New Theatre

Photography by Pamela Raith

La Cage Aux Folles, Tuesday 31st January, New Theatre. Reviewer: Stephany Damyanova

“Hey, World, I am what I am!”

La Cage aux Folles is many things, but above all it’s a spectacular celebration of love in all its forms. It’s a meticulously crafted masterpiece that radiates affection in every detail, every story, every song. It tells no lies and hides no truths, giving the audience a taste of reality in the backdrop of the enhanced dreamlike Saint Tropez and its most popular gay club – La Cage aux Folles.

Georges (Adrian Zmed) is the owner of La Cage aux Folles and his partner, Albin (John Partridge) is Zaza – a drag queen, who is also the star of the venue and the biggest diva the world has ever met. They live an idyllic life until Georges’ son, Jean-Michele (Dougie Carter), who Albin raised along with him, announces he’s getting married – and not only to a girl, but to a girl whose father is a puritanical politician, who has sworn to abolish gay clubs along the southern coast. All hell breaks loose when Jean-Michele’s fiancée decides to come down to Saint Tropez with her parents for a meet and greet with Georges and Albin.

The story is presented with witty humour and in-between performances of the sublime artists of La Cage aux Folles. Prepare yourself for being attracted to men in drag while envying their dresses and toned legs, because that is 100% what is going to happen to you. The amount of times I wished I could borrow a dress for the spring ball is too enormous to count and all I can say about the amazing costumes, makeup and performances is that RuPaul would be beyond proud!

John Partridge delivered an incredibly powerful and complex performance, which combined light-hearted humour with the struggle for self-love and acceptance his character was faced with. He did all of this while dancing in heels and singing with a voice that gave me goose bumps (and he only fell once, which he did so gracefully that I’m still questioning whether it was intentional or not). Adrian Zmed, who starred alongside Partridge was incredible as the supportive and loving Georges, delivering both some of the show’s most heartfelt moments and its best comic relief.

La Cage Aux Folles is something you don’t want to miss. And as you have already missed the shows in Cardiff I recommend taking a look at the other tour dates and planning a trip around them. If you’re still not convinced the show is as amazing as I make it out to be, I’ll leave it to John Partridge to convince you himself with a video of him singing ‘I Am What I Am’ during rehearsals.

by Stephany Damyanova