La Cage aux Folles … it is what it is

When I went: Autumn 2009

Music Owl Hoot rating: 3/5

Location: Playhouse Theatre, London

Performers: John Barrowman (Albin), Simon Burke (Georges)

Creative team: Terry Johnson (director), Jerry Herman (music and lyrics), Harvey Fierstein (book)

Approximate price: £60

Special points: Themes of self-belief, acceptance

Best bit: I Am What I Am

If I could change one thing: More killer songs

Review:

The musical:

La Cage aux Folles, based on a 1970s French play, was the subject of a film adaptation starring Nathan Lane and Robin Williams, but has also enjoyed success as a musical theatre production in its own right, as well as Tony Awards. Unfortunately, while the book is strong and witty all the way through, the musical numbers definitely take a second half dip.

This performance:

John Barrowman was very strong as Albin, to the point where you missed him when he was offstage. Simon Burke provided a great counterpoint as Georges and their chemistry was palpable. The highlight was I Am What I Am, after which John Barrowman burst out of the stage door, in drag, onto the street – I imagine anyone hanging around there at that moment got a bit of a surprise.

The performance got across the themes of prejudice and self-acceptance fairly well, without exaggerated flamboyance and with plenty of adult jokes. It wasn’t a stunning performance but this was partially due to the overall lack of strong musical numbers.

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