Monday, 23 January 2017

Theatre 2017: Review Three - La Cage aux Folles

La Cage aux Folles, Theatre Royal Norwich. January 2017.

Unexpectedly Mr Norfolkbookworm accompanied me to this which was a nice surprise, he isn't a great one for theatre or musicals as a rule but as he'd liked the film versions of this he kindly kept me company when Rebecca wasn't able to.

I still am unsure what I felt about this show. Visually it was stunning, the costumes, the set and the dances from the Cagelles were a feast for the eyes and the live music was very good, but...

At heart I thought this was supposed to be a bitter sweet comedy with a strong, but unconventional family being tested. This production was all surface humour, I found no depth in it at all and the dilemma that the son puts his parents through was so played for laughs that there was no poignancy or emotion to be found. Every so often pathos was approached with some straight acting and then the cast broke into song - and as only two of the four main singers could actually sing this broke the momentum time after time, especially as only two of the four main singers could actually sing well.

It would also have been nice if all of the cast knew their lines - this is a major tour with (allegedly) big names and yet three weeks in lines were still fluffed repeatedly.  Worse than this was the fact that I never believed in the relationship between George and Albin, they were supposed to have been a couple for 20+ years and yet to be it came across as no more than a working relationship. I know that after time the passion can diminish but here I thought it had vanished totally!

I did feel sorry for Partridge, playing Albin, however as there is one scene where he is 'doing' his cabaret and talking to the audience. The night we were in the house was less than a third full and as the Theatre Royal in Norwich is a big venue it must have been hard to keep the energy needed for this part of the show.

All in all this was an okay night out at the theatre, but I expected much more from a headline show and not all of this can be put down to the small audience.  It made me want to come home and watch the film again to remember that there is a good, funny, sad and enjoyable story to La Cage.

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