BWW Reviews: LA CAGE AUX FOLLES - A Disappointing End to 2014 for The Production Company
The Production Company's final installment for 2014 La Cage Au Folles opened last night at the Arts Centre. Based on the play by Jean Poiret, opening in 1983 and winning 6 Tony Awards on Broadway, La Cage tells the story of Georges (Simon Burke), owner of the famous La Cage Au Folles club in St.Tropez where his partner Albin (Todd Mckenney) is the star drag act. Georges son Jean-Michel (Robert Tripolino) returns to the club to announce that he is engaged to Anne (Emily Milledge), daughter of the Edouard Dindon (Gary Sweet) leader of the Tradition Family and Morality Party. What ensues is a riotous fusion of two different worlds coupled with a touching story of love and the bond of family set against Jerry Herman's fun, poignant score.
However, this production of La cage Au Folles fails to deliver on either end of this spectrum. The show lacks any element of fun in the first half an hour, it is flat and drags from the outset. It skips over the real moments of importance, instead seemingly focusing on indulgence and in-jokes that don't land. The highlight of this production is when Todd Mckenney is playing Todd Mckenney. There is no doubt he is a star, a true showman and thank goodness for his improvised moments with the audience...Thank goodness for his performance and thank goodness for him.
The most confusing aspect of the evening is why Australian accents are used for an American musical set in France. Talk about putting an audience off from the outset, this is a massive insult to both the show and to its paying public. The lighting is distracting and makes little sense, particularly in Albin's 'I Am What I Am', the dramatic conclusion to the end of Act 1.
Simon Burke, who played Georges in the acclaimed West End Production of La Cage Au Folles, is charismatic both in word and song and his beautiful vocals were a highlight. There are some brilliant cameos from Aljin Abella as Jacob and Marg Downey as Marie Dindon who both provide comedic relief throughout the performance. The cast work hard all night, but simply aren't given the best opportunity to showcase their talents.
There have been so many brilliant productions of La Cage Au Folles both in Australia and around the world. Unfortunately this is not one of them. It's an aberration for The Production Company who continuously produce excellence in their productions. Let's hope 2015 rekindles their own lofty standards.