Monday, November 10, 2014

LA CAGE AUX FOLLES




Directed by: Garrick Smith.
Musical Direction by: Rose Shorney.
Choreographed by: Jacquelyn Richards.
Costume design by: Suzan Cooper.
Set design by: Steve and Susie Walsh.
Presented by: Supa Productions. ANU Arts Centre until November 22nd.

 Reviewed by: Bill Stephens

“We are what we are” proclaim Les Cagelles, six dancers of indeterminate sex, who, strut, mince, high-kick and tap energetically in grotesque make-up and a succession of tacky costumes at  “La Cage Aux Folles, a drag  nightclub in St. Tropez, run by Georges (Jarrad West). The star of “La Cage Aux Folles” is drag queen, Zaza, the alter ego of George’s effeminate partner, Albin (Ben O’Reilly).

Georges and Albin have lived happily above the nightclub for years, but their happiness is threatened when George’s son, Jean Michel (Alexander Clubb) suddenly announces that he is going to marry the daughter of the famously anti-gay politician, Edouard Dindon (Len Power).

How they deal with this predicament is the meat of Jerry Herman’s delightfully hilarious and tuneful musical currently enjoying its first Canberra showing in this exuberant production directed with panache by Garrick Smith for Supa Productions.

 The linchpin of the show is Ben O’Reilly’s brilliant performance as Albin/Zaza. O’Reilly skilfully balances the silliness and pathos of Albin, with the confident glamour of Zaza in a carefully modulated performance of considerable depth.  Jarrad West matches him with a strong and charming Georges. Both sing well and their scenes together are beautifully managed. Alexander Clubb is impressive as their head-strong son, Jean Michel, and Fraser Findlay makes the most of his scene-stealing role as the butler/maid, Jacob.

 Rose Shorney’s large, full-throated orchestra brilliantly captures the authentic Broadway sound to do full justice to Herman’s wonderful score.  Steve and Susie Walsh’s setting with its spectacular use of led lighting, Suzan Cooper’s often dazzling costumes, Jacquelyn Richards spot-on choreography, and Phil Goodwin and Peter Barton’s superb lighting and sound design all add pizazz and razzle dazzle to this hugely enjoyable production.  
The La Cagelles


This review first published in CITY NEWS digital edition on November 8. It will be published in the print edition on November 12.
    

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