Review: La Cage Aux Folles – Leeds Grand Theatre

Glitter, glam and drag. These three ingredients blended well with the grandeur of Leeds Grand Theatre as the new production of La Cage Aux Folles stormed into the city. With John Partridge returning in a distinctly different role as ‘Billy Flynn’ from last autumns tour Chicago, the evening was met with a fabulous, if not slightly strange mix of cast. The musical sees club owner ‘Georges’ (Adrian Zmed) and drag artiste, ‘Albin’s’ (John Partridge) relationship put to the test when their son, ‘Jean-Michele’ (Dougie Carter) brings his rather conservative in laws to visit.

The shows structure had a good balance of song and action, while meta theatre was used effectively throughout. The ensemble of queens gave a magnificent show opener of ‘We are who we are’. What they were indeed, was an illusion with bold and dazzling costumes head to toe in sequins to the point that it made the slightly out of sync choreography forgivable. ‘We are who we are’ was later reprised with a dramatic conclusion to act one from John Partridge.

John Partridge gave a stellar performance and effectively created a loveable and enticing portrayal of ‘Albin’ / ‘Za Za’ through his natural physicality and nuances. However, there was a slight niggle with his stereotypically campy northern accent which strangely felt misplaced for a show that was full of campy moments. Adrian Zmed’s dialogue was also muddled up in a few places and their on-stage relationship could have been pushed further to strive for equality in this performance which clearly has a voice for LGBTQ inclusivity. Credit must go to Samson Ajewole’s hilarious portrayal of Albin and George’s butler-come-maid which set the house in hysterics as his portrayal of ‘Jacob’.

La Cage Aux Folles was fun and fabulous which had the right balance of comedy, music and drama. Condragluations, ladies.

Mark McDougall

Image courtesy of Leeds Grand Theatre

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