I remember back in the early 80's when the film adaptation of the original French play, La Cage aux Folles, was a cable staple. It's a wonderful little movie well worth your time, and it spawned a sequel, the American remake, The Birdcage, and a cheeky, charming little musical with a book by Harvey Fierstein and a funny and touching score by the legendary Jerry Herman. The production that's currently playing the Fox Theatre is a wonderfully executed and staged version that's a sheer delight. It's filled with terrific performances, and guaranteed to entertain.
The story is relatively simple: two gay men living in Saint-Tropez become stuck in a farcical situation when Georges's son Jean-Michel decides to visit, and brings his fiancee and her conservative parents along for the ride. Georges's romantic partner, Albin, who also happens to be the club's star attraction are forced to try and play it “straight”, so to speak, and hilarity ensues.
George Hamilton, who I remember seeing for the first time as kid on screen in the movie based on the life of Evel Kneivel, is Georges, naturally, and he does a truly fine job in the role. Forget the last 20 years of his career, which has focused more on his spectacular tan than his acting chops, Hamilton is very good. And, he's paired with Christopher Sieber, who does exceptional work as Albin, absolutely shining on the number “I Am What I Am”. Together they're both able to convey both the humorous and the touching aspects of the show. Drag queen Lily Whiteass worked the crowd to perfection as well.
Billy Harrigan Tighe and Allison Blair McDowell are nicely matched as Jean-Michel and his bride-to-be, Anne. Bruce Winant and Cathy Newman pull double duty, but are properly conservative as Anne's stuffy parents. Of course, mention should also be made of the “Cagelles” who perform at the club, and Matt Anctil. Logan Keslar, Donald Shorter, Jr., Mark Roland, Terry Lavell, and Trevor Downey amuse throughout the proceedings. Jeigh Madjus also contributes strongly as their housemaid/butler, the flamboyant Jacob.
Terry Johnson's direction is superb, and this show moves along at a good clip, which is absolutely necessary for a farcE. Johnson is aided by Lynne Pages' flashy choreography and the musical arrangements by Jason Carr. Tim Shortalls scenic design neatly captures the transition from outrageous to plain that occurs to Georges and Albin's domicile, and it's all well lit by Nick Richings. Special credit goes to Matthew Wright's costumes and Richard Mawbey's wigs and makeup, which add just the right over the top touch.
This production of La Cage aux Folles should not be missed, and continues at the Fox Theatre through January 15, 2012.