La Cage Aux Folles – State Theatre (NSW)
Produced by David M. Hawkins. Book by Harvey Fierstein.
Reviewed by Tessa Miles
State Theatre Sydney
19th – 23rdApril
- An entertaining and moving story that celebrates individuality and authenticity -
La Cage Aux Folles, the Tony Award-winning musical, has returned to Sydney's State Theatre for a limited run due to popular demand. Produced by David M. Hawkins, this production features a talented cast and crew who deliver a thoroughly entertaining story of love, family, acceptance, and being true to oneself.
The musical follows the story of Georges (Michael Cormick) and Albin (Paul Capsis), a gay couple who run a drag nightclub in Saint-Tropez. When their son Jean-Michel brings home his fiancée and her conservative, anti-drag parents to meet Georges, Albin and his absent mother, they are faced with a tricky situation that forces them to confront the realities of their relationship and identities. Despite being adapted from the French play in 1983, the musical's themes are still relevant today.
Photos by John McRae
The musical is filled with colourful and flashy performances with drag queens in sequined corsets, feather boas, and chorus shoes performing in many of the ensemble's numbers. The nightclub serves as a safe space where performers and patrons can be their authentic selves without fear of judgment or discrimination. The contrast with Jean-Michel's request for his parents to hide their true selves highlights the tension between societal expectations and individuality.
Capsis delivers a captivating performance as Albin, demonstrating great comedic timing, diva-sass and vulnerability alongside Cormick's confident and charming Georges. The two actors navigate the complexities of their relationship with each other, their son, and the world outside the nightclub with authenticity and heart. Lucia Mastratone's performance as Jacqueline and Francis is also noteworthy, providing comic relief throughout the evening, even if she did come on stage for a number at one-point sans one shoe.
Noah Mullins gave a phenomenal vocal performance as Jean-Michel, skillfully portraying a young man in love who becomes misguided in his efforts to impress his fiancé and her parents. Meanwhile, Chloe Malek brought Anne to life with comedic flair, eliciting laughs from the audience with her playful twirls and unique entrances. Her portrayal of Anne was commendable, delivering a sweet and charming performance.
The ensemble captivated the audience with their glamorous performance, featuring large, intricately choreographed numbers that showcased their individual sass and personality. While this added a unique comedic charm, it also resulted in a sacrifice of the uniformity and precision that are typically expected of ensemble numbers. At times, one or more members stood out from the group, disrupting the otherwise tight and polished performance.
The musical score features a mix of upbeat show-stopping numbers and heartfelt ballads that take the audience on an emotional journey. The Australian cast delivers each performance with ferocity and heart, though technical difficulties with the microphones caused some of the dialogue to be missed at the start of some lines.
La Cage Aux Folles has been celebrated for its LGBTQ+ representation and message of love and acceptance over bigotry and societal expectations for decades. The musical remains a relevant and important piece of theatre that resonates with audiences of all ages. Overall, this production delivers an entertaining and moving story that celebrates individuality and authenticity.
JERRY HERMAN Music And Lyrics
HARVEY FIERSTEIN Book
DAVID M. HAWKINS Producer
RILEY SPADARO Director
VERONICA BEATTIE GEORGE Choreographer
MICHAEL TYACK Musical Consultant
CRAIG RENSHAW Musical Director
JOZEF KODA Costume Designer
GRACE DEACON Set Designer
ANTHONY LORENZ Sound Designer
PHOEBE PILCHER Lighting Designer
DREW-ELIZABETH JOHNSTONE Wig And Make-Up Design
PAUL CAPSIS Albin
MICHAEL CORMICK Georges
ZOË VENTOURA Marie Dindon
PETER PHELPS Edouard Dindon
ANTHONY BRANDON WONG Jacob
LUCIA MASTRANTONE Jacqueline
NOAH MULLINS Jean-Michel
CHLOE MALEK Anne Dindon
JAMES LEE Tabarro
NICK EYNAUD Chantal
NICK JONES Hanna
MATTHEW JENSON Clo-Clo
LIAM PEEL Phaedra
ETHAN RITCHIE Bitelle
TRENT SINCLAIR Etienne
RACHEL COLE Colette
MAX WALBURN Mercedes