The story is centred around a Saint-Tropez nightclub famous for its fabulous drag entertainment, the manager of club Georges and his partner of 20yrs Albin – who is also the club’s star act Zaza. When Georges’ son from a past relationship announces his pending marriage to the daughter of a politician intent on removing such fruitful nightlife, we witness the sacrifice, heartache and challenges faced in the name of love…
The show opens with Les Cagelles bringing to life the club with opening number “We Are What We Are.” With such lyrics like “Putting on heels, causing confusion” and “You’ll find it tough guessing our gender” I can honestly say you really will spend most of the show trying to determine if they are men or women.
Georges is played effortlessly by Adrian Zmed who some will remember as Romano from TJ Hooker. To me he will always be Johnny the T-Bird from Grease 2 (yes I love this film and now it’s written down for all to read.) His voice seemed far stronger on the stage than I remember in the film and he displayed great chemistry with the rest of cast. Adrian still had that T-Bird twinkle in his eye even after 30 years – once a T-Bird always a T-Bird.
I haven’t seen enough of John Partridge’s work to call myself a fan and I don’t watch Eastenders but as Albin/Zaza he blew me away. John made this role his own and completely stole the show throughout giving us a variety of emotions, drama, and humility and of course great vocal talent.
If you don’t know much about this musical, you may know the signature song “I Am What I Am” made a hit by Gloria Gaynor in the 80s. The faultless performance John gave of this at the end of act 1 was definitely deserving of the rapturous applause and even had some of the audience on their feet.
Prior to this, we were treated to Zaza’s finale where we became part of the show. John really came into his own interacting with the cast on stage, the orchestra and the audience making us feel like we were part of a real cabaret show. I haven’t laughed this much at a show in ages – it was better than some genuine stand ups.
Other notable performances include Marti Webb as restaurant owner Jacqueline – proving she can still belt out a tune and one to watch Samson Ajewole as Georges and Albin’s maid Jacob – cracking comedy performance.
I couldn’t end this review without mentioning the gorgeous Les Cagelles again for dancing in heels, doing the splits, the fabulous tap number and for keeping us guessing – Jordan Livesey, Louie-George Daniels, Micah Holmes, Richard Leavey and Matthew Ives brilliant.
A show definitely worthy of the standing ovation it was given by everyone at the end and i’m sure like me they would’ve quite enjoyed an encore.
Another masterpiece from producer Bill Kenwright, this is definitely a must-see show. Grab your tickets now and look forward to a night of humour, great songs, wonderful costumes and lots of fabulousness!
La Cage Aux Folles, Theatre Royal Nottingham until 18th February
Absolutely sensational and nothing bad to say – my first 10/10 review
Photos Credit by Pamela Raith Photography