Kate Herbert is theatre reviewer, Herald Sun, Melbourne & formerly for Melbourne Times. Kate is a director & produced playwright (20 plays). Scripts published by Currency Press. She worked as an actor, comedian, improviser & teacher of Acting, Improvisation & Playwriting. Kate is currently Convenor of Professional Writing & Editing, Swinburne University. Read her reviews here or at: www.heraldsun.com.au/entertainment/arts. NB Explorer Browser doesn't always work on blog.
Friday, 21 November 2014
La Cage Aux Folles, Nov 22, 2014 ***
Harvey Fierstein & Lyrics & Music by Jerry Herman; based on play by Jean
Poiret By The Production Company Playhouse, Arts Centre Melbourne,
Nov 21 to Dec 7, 2014 Reviewer: Kate Herbert Stars:*** Review also published online in Herald Sun on Mon Nov 24, 2014 then in print thereafter. KH
Todd McKenney & Les Cagelles
Cage Aux Folles, with its bevy of pert transvestites, seems to be terminally
titillating to an audience that has probably never rubbed up against a drag
queen – so to speak.
dance show judge and hoofer, Todd McKenney, relishes the opportunity to mince, prance
and dazzle in glittering gowns and fabulous wigs when playing flamboyant,
Burke is suitably elegant and decorative as Georges, Albin’s straight-acting
gay, long-term partner and owner of renowned St. Tropez cabaret, La Cage Aux
Folles, where Albin stars nightly as the celebrated drag queen, ZaZa.
and Albin’s vivid but stable world totters when Georges’ son, Jean-Michel (Robert
Tripolino), announces that he is bringing the Dindons (Gary Sweet, Marg Downey),
the arch-conservative parents of his fiancée (Emily Milledge) to meet his own “parents”.
Cage is playful, vivacious, silly and entertaining and the musical numbers are
the most successful components of this production directed by Dean Bryant with
musical direction by Matthew Frank and choreography by Andrew Hallsworth.
who played the role of Georges in London, has a warm, tuneful voice singing Song
On The Sand and Look Over There, and his duet with McKenney, With You On My
Arm, captures the romantic history of this unconventional couple.
the poignant moment when Albin realises that he will be banished during the Dindons’
visit, McKenney sings a rousing rendition of I Am What I Am, the best-known
song in this show.
Burke and McKenney settle more comfortably into the show by the second half,
and both have fun teasing the audience with their improvised banter.
musical numbers with the outrageous chorus, Les Cagelles, are the highlights of
the show as he prowls the stage in stilettos and platinum wigs, belting out the
Cagelles, a chorus of lean, pretty, trashy, drag queens, demand our attention
with their glitzy, skimpy costumes (Owen Phillips), high-kicking dance routines
and impertinent characters that sing, “We love how it feels/ Putting on heels,
formidable Rhonda Burchmore almost steals her scenes as Jacqueline, the sassy restaurant
owner, and she belts out a mean tune with McKenney and the chorus in The Best
Abella’s perky portrayal of Albin’s dresser-butler who wears a saucy, French
maid’s uniform, tickles the audience.
dialogue is a bit bumpy in the scenes between the songs, but La Cage Aux Folles
is a bit of gaudy amusement for the Silly Season.