23 February 2008

La Cage aux Folles by Jerry Jerman and Harvey Fierstein

Georges - Philips Quast
Francis - Sebastian Torkia
Jacob - Jason ennycooke
Albin - Douglas Hodge
Jean-Michel - Neil McDermott
Anne - Alicia Davies
Jacqueline - Tara Hugo
M Renaud - Iain Mitchell
Mme Renaud - Una Stubbs
Etienne - Philip Riley
Colette - Kay Murphy
Tabarro = Mark Insco
Edouard Dindon - Iain Mitchell
Mme Dindon - Una Stubbs
'Les Cagelles'
Chantal - Nolan Frederick
Hanna - Nicholas Cunningham
Mercedes - Spencer Stafford
Bitelle - Kay Murphy
Angelique - Mark Johnson Richardson
Phaedra - Steven Cleverley sranding in for Lee Ellis

Directed by Terry Johnson
Designed by David Farley

seen in the tiny space at the Menier Chocolate Factory where I bypassed the tables and chairs at the front for a seat in the second tier of the unreserved seating.

A completely magical night out. From the ambient perfume they were pumping into the room to the improbably ambitious set for such a small place

I'm not a musicals person but you can't bring Douglas Hodge onto the stage without my wanting to take a peek. Staging this at the Menier was another huge pull though I don't really like the worry of scrapping over a good seat as they are unreserved.

In front of the first row of the raked seating they had left just enough room for some cabaret style tables and chairs. I think there were about 5 of them. I was unsure if a couple of the people taking those seats had already agreed to take the brunt of interaction.

Where do I start? As we feverishly tried to be first through the door as soon as they were unshackled we were transported through a short tunnel clad in fabric and fairy lights. So pretty and you immediately knew you were in for an experiential evening.

Introduced by Georges, Les Cagelles did some wonderful routines and we had to wait quite a while before sampling the delights of Douglas in beautiful not-quite-elegant drag.

A sweet pantomime of a story and it must have been such shame that the cast were too poorly to make this the Christmas sensation it should have been.

I guess if you don't like performances in your lap, you would hate this but don't avoid it just because you don't like music based shows because few of the songs are contrived and most of them are set piece routines within the night club scenes.