Review: La Cage Aux Folles is a welcome burst of sunshine

John Partridge as Zaza and Adrian Zmed as Georges in La Cage Aux Folles. Picture: Matt Martin.

John Partridge as Zaza and Adrian Zmed as Georges in La Cage Aux Folles. Picture: Matt Martin. - Credit: Archant

The hit West End and Broadway show is on its first UK tour, starring John Partridge, Adrian Zmed and Marti Webb, and is at Norwich Theatre Royal this week.

It's the middle of January. It's cold. The days are still short. What's needed is a blast of feelgood sunshine – and that's exactly what's on offer at Norwich Theatre Royal this week.

Out on its first ever UK tour, La Cage Aux Folles is a glitzy, high-kicking, marabou feather-trimmed joy of a show.

A French farce which became a Tony Award winning musical via the big screen, it tells the story of Albin and Georges, a couple living an idyllic existence in the south of France.

Albin moonlights as the star drag act Zaza in the most glamorous nightclub in town, La Cage Aux Folles, owned by Georges.


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But then Georges' son Jean-Michele announces his engagement to Anne, the daughter of politician Dindon, who is determined to close down the club – or den of debauchery as he sees it.

When the parents of the couple meet pre-nuptials, Georges and Albin face the challenge of covering up their flamboyant lives to ensure Jean-Michele can marry his true love.

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John Partridge – best known as Christian Clarke in EastEnders and a trained ballet dancer who has starred in Cats, Starlight Express and, most recently, Chicago – plays Albin.

It is a complex role that demands everything of a performer – singing, dancing, comedy, fragility and negotiating a staircase in skyscraper heels.

And from cheekily riffing with the audience to raising the roof with the musical's signature song (and message of the show) I Am What I Am, Partridge is note perfect.

Broadway and TV star Adrian Zmed (he played Vince Romano in the 80s cop show TJ Hooker) is charming as Georges, and West End legend Marti Webb is a treat as restaurant owner Jacqueline.

Samson Ajewole's Jacob is another highlight – along with the spectacular house dancers Les Cagelles.

The evening ended with the audience on their feet – if anyone invites you for a night out at the Cage Aux Folles, then go.

La Cage Aux Folles is at Norwich Theatre Royal until Saturday, January 21. Box office: 01603 630000/ www.theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk

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