BWW Review: Second Time's the Charm at LA CAGE AUX FOLLES
Looking for a show to celebrate Mothers' Day? Look no further and run to W!LD RICE's La Cage Aux Folles now playing at Singapore's Victoria Theatre.
Underneath the production numbers with the Cagelles executing challenging choreography by Lisa Keegan and wearing beautifully crafted costumes by Frederick Lee, at the heart of La Cage is what it means to be a family.
Directed by Glen Goei, La Cage Aux Folles, previously staged in 2012, follows the story of Albin and George. When their son Jonathan returns home announcing that he is going to marry the daughter of a conservative family, hilarity and heartbreak ensues.
This production is significantly different from the Tony Award winning Broadway production as it is no longer set in France, but instead in the heart of Singapore -- Tanjong Pagar. Names have been changed, including Jean-Michel to Jonathan, Edouard Dindon to Dr. C.K. Tan. Although the French inspired orchestrations provide a slight disconnect, it is brilliant to set this story in Singapore and incorporating local dialects and Singlish catchphrases like lah, leh, lor into the play. This engages the Singapore audience immediately, and La Cage is no longer a distant French fantasy, but instead could very well be a nightclub carrying out its day to day business in Singapore today.
Albin / Zaza, played by Ivan Heng, is a stunning portrayal of what it means to be a flamboyant gay man living under the societal pressures of Singapore. Not only does he deliver humor with ease, highlighting that the show's advisory should be "some heterosexual content" instead of MDA's "some homosexual content", he delivers a heart-wrenching performance when his role as Jonathan's mother is questioned.
George, played by Sean Ghazi, is undoubtedly the best singer in the cast. His rendition of "Song on the Sand" soars under his hauntingly beautiful voice and melodious charms. More importantly, George holds up a mirror to examine what happens when you succumb to society's expectations of how you should behave as a gay man, and how that affects the people you love.
The cast standout is Leslie, played by Hossan Leong, who steals every scene that he is in, and his precision and comedic timing is impeccable.
Every Singaporean should experience La Cage Aux Folles, to open you eyes to a world we may not understand, but is present among us. The show is a significant milestone in Singapore theatre, and most importantly, under today's political climate, this timeless classic is all the more relevant and should not be missed a second time.
La Cage Aux Folles continues its run at the Victoria Theatre until May 13. Tickets are available on SISTIC.
Photos by Albert Lim KS.