John Barrowman in La Cage

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James1969
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John Barrowman in La Cage#1
Posted: 9/14/09 at 7:41am
Opening tonight - anyone going ?
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wildcat
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re: John Barrowman in La Cage#2
Posted: 9/14/09 at 11:17am
Isn't it Simon Burke's first night as well?
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re: John Barrowman in La Cage#2
Posted: 9/14/09 at 11:46am
clearly no one is bothered its his first night ! GOOD LUCK SIMON !
No Doubt Our Paths Will Cross Again ! Matt
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re: John Barrowman in La Cage#3
Posted: 9/14/09 at 1:04pm
This takes the temptation to see this wonderful production again away for 3 months.
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re: John Barrowman in La Cage#4
Posted: 9/14/09 at 2:08pm
ouch Mama! Though I appreciate your point, Barrowman is not everyone's cup of tea.

I'm looking forward to seeing Burke too though-I enjoyed him in SoM so I'm interested to see him in this. I'm going Saturday-with two middle aged ladies, I must be mad!
Maybe I'm on nobody's side http://phdconfessions.blogspot.com/
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re: John Barrowman in La Cage#5
Posted: 9/14/09 at 2:16pm
But I really want to Mr Burke!
re: John Barrowman in La Cage
Updated On: 9/14/09 at 02:16 PM
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re: John Barrowman in La Cage#6
Posted: 9/14/09 at 2:17pm
I'm looking forward to hearing reports back. The general consensus among those I spoke to at the Playhouse on Saturday was reserved scepticism, more on the grounds of JB's age and appearance rather than on questions surrounding his talent and personality.
Seen some shows in my time....
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re: John Barrowman in La Cage#7
Posted: 9/14/09 at 2:19pm
He is so wrong for this show.
It will be just one big ego trip for him and as I've said before, the production will suffer.
If he gets bad reviews I will be there!
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re: John Barrowman in La Cage#8
Posted: 9/14/09 at 3:12pm
But I really want to Mr Burke!

Mama, La Barrowman is apparently out of the show on Friday 20th November. Assuming Simon doesn't take the same day off, that would be the day to go.

There is plenty of Mr Barrowman's work that I enjoy (mostly from quite a while ago, though) but as Mama said he is just utterly wrong for this role, whatever the man himself might say.
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re: John Barrowman in La Cage#9
Posted: 9/14/09 at 3:12pm
I snuck in last week because I wanted to see Allam and Quast, and I also wanted an anchor to measure Barrowman against when I see him next month.

I'd only seen La Cage once before and that was a local amateur production donkeys years ago where the cast seemed embarrassed that it was about gay issues - a bad experience. And whilst I still think the score is derivative of much of Herman's earlier French-located musicals, I was very impressed with the book (particularly since I've been musing on just how weak Sister Act's book is) and how well the whole show worked together: it was so moving and so fresh.

Like everyone else has said, Quast and Allam were superb (no bum notes heard). The role of Jacqueline seemed a bit of a coat-hook and Tracie Bennett seemed wasted in it.

As a closeted gay teenager (who hadn't got in touch with his own inner-homophobe) and Sondsnob I hated the fact that this gayfest won the Tony over the adroitly intellectual Sunday in the Park with George. But now I've seen a decent production of it I would say it is a superb work, very different from Sunday, but equally deserving of acclaim. I was so moved I forgot to collect my back pack from the theatre cloakroom on my way out and had to go back the next day.

Oh, and I haven't seen such big balls since Slava's Snowshow.

And one of Les Cagelles could kick 'em like Johnny Wilkinson.

And, yes, I wouldn't mind a bit of actor-audience interaction with Simon Burke.
Updated On: 9/14/09 at 03:12 PM
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re: John Barrowman in La Cage#10
Posted: 9/14/09 at 4:00pm
Halfway through first show. Barrowman good as ZaZa, terrible as Albin.
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re: John Barrowman in La Cage#11
Posted: 9/14/09 at 6:13pm
Just got back from the first show. I won't be returning til Barrowman has left. Actually made Graham Norton seem like an Olivier-award winning performance.

I'll go through each of the new cast though:

Simon Burke - pretty good. Nice voice, good stage presence and a slightly overly camp, but touching interpretation of Georges.

The Cagelles - I think only 2 'original' Cagelles remain. The 4 new ones were very good - need to get a bit sharper, but for a first performance were excellent. A couple of very poorly fitted wigs though. Their La Cage Aux Folles was one of the most energetic I've seen.

Sebastian Torkia - he was good. Interesting to read he was the original Francis from the Menier. I think I prefer Adrian Der Gregorian though. Dead ringer for Borat which was a bit off-putting.

Syrus Lowe - I enjoyed his Jacob. He played it nearly identical to Jason Pennycooke (which is not bad thing). Needs to work on his timing a bit though.

John Barrowman - Not sure where to start. His acting was very wooden during the scenes purely as Albin and he just looked wrong. As ZaZa, he looked very good in a dress and sang amazing (although was over doing it a bit in places). Which to me doesn't make a good ZaZa. ZaZa's meant to be 'getting on a bit'. JB might as well have been a cagelle. His accent was also very inconsistent, he put on stupid voices for cheap laughs and also corpsed a couple of times during the masculinity scene. The audience really annoyed me as well. I'm sure the cast enjoyed the enthusiasm, but people were whooping every time John came back out on stage. To be honest, if he came on a farted and then left he still probably would have got a standing ovation from most people there.
To his credit, his I Am What I Am was very good.
Overall though, even Graham Norton beat him hands down.

Gabriel Vick - excellent as Jean Michele. A very poorly-written character in my opinion, but he made what he could from the role.

All the Dindons and Jacqueline were the same cast and excellent as always (although Tracie Bennett's accent is appalling still).

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re: John Barrowman in La Cage#12
Posted: 9/15/09 at 4:27am
If/when I do return to the Playhouse to see JB (i.e. if discounts are available and after a strong drink), I really hope this sort of audience behaviour has petered out. I suppose it's understandable on his first night, but if it continues it will be disrespectful to the other performers as well as to the production itself. (Rather like using stupid voices for cheap laughs - it's not a pantomime FGS!)

Still, first night jitters and all that. Still trying to reserve judgement till I hear more / see it for myself. re: John Barrowman in La Cage
Seen some shows in my time....
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James1969
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re: John Barrowman in La Cage#13
Posted: 9/15/09 at 4:36am
Seeing it for myself on Monday night - will reserve judgement till then.

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re: John Barrowman in La Cage#14
Posted: 9/15/09 at 9:46am
When is his offical press night?
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re: John Barrowman in La Cage#15
Posted: 9/15/09 at 11:54am
Three weeks' time.
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re: John Barrowman in La Cage#16
Posted: 9/16/09 at 12:07pm
Thought he was brilliant!

Didn't look to young - he only wore the outfit in the press for about one minute on stage and eveyrthing else was appropiatly done. He sings the great score beautifully and does the role great justice.
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re: John Barrowman in La Cage#17
Posted: 9/16/09 at 3:54pm
Is it me, or does Barrowman look like an inflatable sex doll on the La Cage poster!
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re: John Barrowman in La Cage#18
Posted: 9/16/09 at 7:16pm
I've heard only good things about Barrowman and Burke (the hottest gay couple since Leopold and Loeb?) and they've still got two weeks of previews to get better.
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re: John Barrowman in La Cage#19
Posted: 9/17/09 at 5:20am
I went to see La Cage last night and thought I'd share my observations.

Let's start on the positive, I went in being a bit apprehensive about Mr Barrowman, as I thought he was too young to play the part and just wouldn't look right as Albin/Zaza, and I have to say, that wasn't justified. Whilst I prefer my Zaza's a bit older and think a pouch and flabby arms help giving her that stereotypical "past it" look, that wasn't an issue for me at all yesterday. JB was in great voice and it was nice to hear the songs sung beautifully, the previous three people I saw were all very competent singers (I haven't seen Graham Norton) but none of them had a voice as big as JB.
Simon Burke makes a great George. I personally prefer my George's to be more straight with just slight affectations, he played it a bit more camp, but he was believable and sang the songs beautifully.
I thought the new lot of Cagelles were brilliant, they looked great, they moved great and had a great energy about them. They really blew me away.
I think that Gabriel Vick's Jean-Michel was a lot more like-able then the previous ones I've seen, even though I still don't like the character very much. Very much enjoyed the new Jacob as well, I have only seen Jason before apart from once when his understudy was on, and he didn't make any attempt at the French accent and his comic timing was completely off, so I am glad the new Jacob chose a very similar approach to the character as Jason did. re: John Barrowman in La Cage

Now to the negatives, or actually only the one big negative for me. And that unfortunately was JB! A friend of mine that saw the show last night as well said that basically it was just like seeing John Barrowman on stage wearing a dress, he didn't try to become Albin or Zaza, he was just himself, which hits the nail on the head, IMO.
I did not like his Albin/Zaza at all and was completely surprised that the one thing that I thought wouldn't be a problem turned out to be the biggest one. He was not in the slightest bit feminine!!! Sure he was camp as hell and completely over the top (at times it really was like he was in a panto), but camp does not equal feminine. He moved like a man, he talked like a man apart from the odd high-pitched squeal here or there and I found him to be very wooden without any warmth in his portrayal. It just all felt completely put on, rather than natural.
Simon was a lot more feminine than him and George is supposed to be the straighter of the two, who can easily get away with playing the straight dad. Masculinity was a complete farce in my opinion, even though JB played it ueber-camp in that song he was still butcher than George.
Overall I just couldn't see his Albin/Zaza as a good drag-act, not to talk about someone's mother figure. There was also no chemistry between Simon and JB, yes, they had a good rapport but they didn't look like two men in love. It takes two to tango, so those two just might not click in that way, but I felt no warmth at all from JB's portrayal all night, whereas Simon's George did have softer moments at times. They both fluffed a few lines, but that is not something that bothered me too much, that happens to everyone.

The audience was very enthusiastic, a bit too enthusiastic for my liking and I got the panto feeling at times, there was constant clapping along to the songs, lots of clapping for little jokes within dialogues and at times it felt like Mr Barrowman should be clapped for just breathing. That said, they were enthusiastic throughout the show and for everyone, so it wasn't like it was rude towards the other performers as they all got their share of impromptu applauses as well.

Overall I very much enjoyed the show apart from JB, and I guess I was one of the only ones that felt like saying NO when Zaza asked the audience if we'd missed her.
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re: John Barrowman in La Cage#20
Posted: 9/17/09 at 3:57pm
Thanks for the detailed report Southstreet. Good to hear Simon Burke makes for a very good Georges, he has very big shoes to fill with the departure of his fellow-countryman. Just out of interest, does JB adopt any particular accent?

I hope the chemistry between the two will improve, esp after the obvious and believable relationship portrayed so beautifully by their immediate predecessors.

I'd be interested in seeing the new Cagelles because, quite frankly, how much more energetic could they get??
Seen some shows in my time....
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re: John Barrowman in La Cage#21
Posted: 9/19/09 at 3:17pm
May have a spare ticket for Monday night's show (21st)

Anyone interested please pvt me
Updated On: 9/20/09 at 03:17 PM
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re: John Barrowman in La Cage#22
Posted: 9/20/09 at 10:26am
La de de da de de da...

So I ventured down to London yesterday to see this and I'm still humming that song!

Probably not the most objective person to evaluate JB's performance but La Cage is one of my favorite musicals, particularly this production so even I was wary. In my opinion he pulls it off, yes there are moments of 'Barrowman-ness' coming through stronger than Zaza/Albin but there are also lovely moments he pulls off. His 'I am what I am' is stunning, imo he really taps into the emotion of the song and delivers, it;s also as mentioned above I think nice to hear those songs sung by such a strong singer (because I think even those who don't like his personality/acting have to give him credit there I think) Personally I believed the relationship between him and Simon Burke which leads me to...

SIMON BURKE! dear lord I love this man! Loved him in 'the sound of music' but in this I think he's fantastic-couldn't take my eyes off him-and not just because he's easy on the eye re: John Barrowman in La Cage for me he nailed Georges-I didn't find him too camp-perhaps he's still playing with that early in his run? for me his voice (dear lord that voice!) his performance, his overall presance just came together and wow! Mama and anyone else who doesn't want to see JB go on his day off in Nov to see Burke please!

Overall also I didn't object to the younger feel of the coupling, it works well as do the costume adjustments made-nothing jarred as out of place compared to the other performances I've seen of this production. But did anyone else notice one of the Cagelles wearing the awful wig Graham Norton wore in the publicity shots?

Anyway overall wonderful time again at La Cage-my 60-something year old aunt came out and asked 'can we go back for the evening?'-if I hadn't had a train to catch I'd have said yes!
Maybe I'm on nobody's side http://phdconfessions.blogspot.com/
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re: John Barrowman in La Cage#23
Posted: 9/20/09 at 7:04pm
Saw JB in La Cage on Friday night and, I must say, his is by far the best sung performance I've seen yet. From the opening night comments, he appears to be settling into the role nicely; there were still a few moments when he broke out of character and became John Barrowman but never to the detriment of the show.

I agree about Simon Burke - he is just on the right side of camp, has a gorgeous voice and he and John make a very convincing couple.

As we had a cabaret table down the front (again) I couldn't resist getting the feathery jacket out again. It certainly paid off because I got so many lines from the stage directed at me, a big kiss from Hannah the dominatrix as she danced on my table and a kiss on the hand from Simon (swoon!).

re: John Barrowman in La Cage
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re: John Barrowman in La Cage#24
Posted: 9/21/09 at 5:17am
Anyone want to see the show TONIGHT and wants my spare ticket please text me on 0771 335 1848 as I am leaving for London soon and won't be back online before the show.