La Cage Aux Folles
La Cage Aux Folles – Theater Review
Georges is the suave owner of a glitzy drag club on the French Riviera. Partnered romantically with his high-strung star performer, Albin (who goes by the stage name Zaza), the pair live a charmed life—until Georges’ son, Jean-Michel, turns up engaged to the daughter of a conservative right-wing politician who’s coming to dinner.
La Cage Aux Folles I have seen both movies of La Cage Aux Folles: the one with Nathan Lane and Robin Williams, and the original one in French which is far superior. This is the third production I’ve seen of La Cage as a musical. As far as I’m concerned, the play rises and falls, in fact, the plot rises and falls on whether or not you believe the two men love each other. And if you believe it, it is touching and there’s some great music, including The Best of Times and I Am Who I Am. If you don’t, it doesn’t work at all. I think the problem in this one is the casting, to a very large extent. I know that Kelsey Grammar is a very talented performer. I’ve interviewed him and he played Fraser to a fare thee well and to much acclaim for years. Albin is played by Douglas Hodge, who was in the British production and is a terrific actor. But you don’t believe this love story for even a moment, and I think the whole play doesn’t work, especially the first act, at all because of that. Kelsey Grammar is still playing Frazier Crane and it really just doesn’t work. His public persona is somebody who is very anti-gay doesn’t help the production at all. The productions I’ve seen previously there were more of the female impersonators. Half of them were men and half of them were women and you didn’t know until the final act when they took off their wigs, who was which. This one they’re all men. They make no bones about it. Their nipples show during the whole thing. They also had this irritating group of people sitting at tables right in front of the stage. I had very good seats and it was impossible to see anybody in the cast when they were doing anything other than standing. I know that selling those tickets for $250 a piece, I’m sure puts more money in the coffers, but it makes it very hard for everybody else to see. The second act is marginally better, partially because they do a cocktail counterpart, which is sheer farce. Great fun. The only thing I thought that worked at all with the first act, other than maybe the first act curtain, I Am What I Am, is when the Les Cagelles kick huge big beach balls into the audience and it gets thrown back and forth, which was actually kind of fun. This was, I think, a disappointment because you don’t believe the love story at all. And if you don’t believe the love story, La Cage Aux Folles is mostly Faux. One star.