La Cage Aux Folles sashays into MK Theatre with JOHN PARTRIDGE and ADRIAN ZMED
Bill Kenwright presents the highly anticipated first ever UK tour of the Tony and Olivier award winning La Cage Aux Folles at Milton Keynes Theatre from Tuesday 8 – Saturday 12 August.
John Partridge will play the iconic role of Albin, who moonlights as star drag act Zaza at the infamous La Cage aux Folles nightclub. Partridge’s extensive theatre credits include the West End productions of A Chorus Line at the London Palladium, Cats, Starlight Express and Chicago. He is also well known for playing the loveable Christian Clarke in BBC’s EastEnders and as a judge on TV’s Over The Rainbow.
Adrian Zmed will play Georges, partner of Albin and owner of the nightclub. Zmed co-starred with William Shatner as Officer Vince Romano in the 80’s hit TV show T.J. Hooker, which ran for 90 episodes over 5 years, and for playing Johnny Nogerelli in the cult classic film Grease 2. This will be his first stage appearance in the UK although he is no stranger to Broadway musicals having previously led the casts of Grease, no fewer than 3 times, Falsettos and Blood Brothers.
One of the West End’s most revered leading ladies’, TV star and recording artist Marti Webb will play Jacqueline, friend to Albin and Georges, and owner of the restaurant Chez Jacqueline. Webb has played leading roles in numerous West End and touring musicals including Evita, Godspell, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Blood Brothers, Oliver, Oklahoma, 42nd Street, and Half-a-Sixpence. She received huge critical acclaim for her unforgettable performance in Tell Me on a Sunday, which was written specifically for her by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Don Black. She has recorded nine solo albums and had many hit singles, including the smash hit Take That Look off Your Face.
Dougie Carter will appear alongside them as Jean-Michele, Samson Ajewole as Jacob, Su Douglas as Marie/Madame Renaud, Alexandra Robinson as Anne, Paul F Monaghan as Dindon /Renaud, and Jon De Ville as Francis. Joining them on stage as Les Cagelles will be Jordan Livesey, Matthew Ives, Louie-George Daniels, Liam Paul Jennings, Micah Holmes and Richard Leavey. Completing the cast are Luke Byrne, Jane Quinn, and Rachel Cumino.
Written by Harvey Fierstein and Jerry Herman, and based on the 1973 French play of the same name by Jean Poiret, La Cage Aux Folles follows the story of Georges, the manager of a Saint Tropez nightclub, and his partner, Albin, a drag artiste and the club’s star attraction. They live an idyllic existence in the south of France but behind the curtains of this sparkling extravaganza, all may be about to change when Georges’ son Jean-Michel announces his engagement to the daughter of a notorious right-wing politician determined to close down the local colourful night-life. Drama and hilarity ensue when a meeting of the parents forces them to cover up their vibrant lifestyle. Will Albin be able to play the role of his life to ensure that Jean-Michel can marry his love.
Setting out on its first ever UK tour, this brand new production is produced by Bill Kenwright, directed by Martin Connor, choreographed by Olivier Award Winning Bill Deamer, designed by Gary McCann, with Wigs and Make-up Design by Richard Mawbey, Lighting by Ben Cracknell and Sound by Dan Samson (the team responsible for the sumptuous current hit, The Sound of Music), and musical direction by Mark Crossland. This lavishly funny tale of unconditional love and family values, will leave you feeling the need to celebrate that life’s not worth a damn ‘til you can say I am what I am.
La Cage Aux Folles is at Milton Keynes Theatre from Tuesday 8 – Saturday 12 August.
Box Office: 0844 871 7652 or Online: www.atgtickets.com/miltonkeynes
I’m sure this production will please all John Partridge fans greatly, though I’m not sure that La Cage enthusiasts will feel as excited. Having seen him excel in pantomime, I got the feeling that he was treating this fine love story as just that. Jumping out of character to throw asides to the audience (How on earth did Strictly Come Dancing get a mention?) What with that and Zaza’s north of Watford Gap accent, when time came for this glittering star of a night club on the French Riviera to perform it owed more to The Wheeltappers & Shunters Club than to a parody of the Folies Bergere. However John Partridge‘s voice remains superb and his rendition of I Am What I Am at the end of act one was beautifully moving.
Georges played by Adrian Zmed managed to keep Zaza calm and the action flowing although there were times when I felt sorry for him as he seemed to be having trouble walking let alone dancing!
One of the surprises of the night was Marti Webb playing restaurant owner Jacqueline, Marti has managed to keep that amazing voice in perfect nick – and used it to great effect!
I loved the music, couldn’t fault the singing at all and the sets and costumes were stunning and perfect for a 2nd rate club during that era. But the wigs! Oh those wigs! From the awful brown thing with a fringe in the first scene to the entire chorus having to come on wearing what looked like a bunch of those luminous green bubble wigs that you can buy for a £1 on the market! I’m sure they cost a great deal more than that, but that’s the impression they left me with.
All in all a show that will give you a good night out. If you’ve never seen it before you’ll probably love it, but if you have, prepare for not the worst, but most certainly not the best!
La Cage Aux Folles is at Milton Keynes Theatre from Tuesday 8 – Saturday 12 August
Box Office: 0844 871 7652 or Online: www.atgtickets.com