(Re)Review – La Cage aux Folles – Playhouse Theatre

Wednesday 19 November 2008

wew-la-cageThe Whingers are not known for generosity, fairness or giving things second chances.

But having been rather disappointed by La Cage Aux Folles at the Menier (it was the first preview and Douglas Hodge was indisposed) it was with a quite uncharacteristic dollop of largesse that they decided to take in the show’s West End transfer. Taking a lesson from the show’s lyrics the Whingers trotted off to its new home at the Playhouse Theatre hoping to see things from a different angle.

They had been encouraged by terrific reviews* (particularly for Hodge) such as:

“HODGE REVELS WITH SEDUCTIVE ELAN”
Evening Standard

“AS AN ANTIDOTE TO THE CREDIT-CRUNCH BLUES, LA CAGE AUX FOLLES IS UNBEATABLE”
Daily Telegraph

“SEW ON A SEQUIN, SLIP INTO SOME HEELS AND GO”
The Times

“THERE’S NO BETTER WAY TO CHASE AWAY RECESSION BLUES”
Time Out

Not surprisingly, quotes such as those now grace the exterior of the theatre and the Whingers suddenly realise where they have been going wrong. So for your convenience we have decided to publish only the quotable bits of our reviews from now on.

“THE ONLY REDEEMING FEATURES OF THIS SHOW ARE THE PERFORMANCES, THE SONGS, THE BOOK, THE COSTUMES, THE SETS, THE CHOREOGRAPHY, THE SINGING, THE ORCHESTRATIONS, THE MUSICIANSHIP, THE HUMOUR, THE WIGS AND THE SHEER JOY IT CONFERS IN THOSE FORTUNATE ENOUGH TO SEE IT!”
West End Whingers

DOUGLAS HODGE IS THE NEW MICHAEL BALL – A REVELATION!!”
West End Whingers

“AFTER SEEING THIS ONLY THE HARDEST NEO-REPUBLICAN FUNDAMENTALIST CHRISTIAN HEART COULD VOTE FOR PROPOSITION 8!”
West End Whingers

GARETH OWEN‘S SOUND DESIGN IS AN INNOVATION IN THE WEST END. YOU CAN HEAR EVERY WORD!”
West End Whingers

“DOUGLAS HODGE SWEEPS ALL BEFORE HIM; PIAF, DIETRICH, ALAN CARR – HE CAN DO THEM ALL!”
West End Whingers

EWAN MCGREGOR’S UNCLE IS THE MOST CONVINCING SCOTTISH HOMOSEXUAL EXPATRIATE ST TROPEZ GAY NIGHTCLUB OWNER WE’VE SEEN ALL YEAR!”
West End Whingers

PAULA WILCOX (58) HAS THE BODY OF A WOMAN HALF HER AGE!”
West End Whingers

“ANDREW HAS THE BODY OF A MAN TWICE HIS AGE!”
Phil

“THE SHOW WAS SO GOOD THE WHINGERS OVATED!”
West End Whingers

“WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU GOT TO TOSS A GIANT BEACHBALL AROUND THE AUDITORIUM? EVERY SHOW SHOULD HAVE ONE!”**
West End Whingers

“THE MAN IN FRONT OF US WAS A PENSIONER AND HE ONLY PAID £20. ONE DAY SOON THAT MAN IN FRONT OF YOU WILL BE PHIL”
Andrew

“IF YOU CAN’T GET A TICKET STAND OUTSIDE ON THE STREET AT 8.50PM TO SEE DOUGLAS HODGE MAKE HIS GRAND EXIT”
West End Whingers

“NEVER IN THE HISTORY OF THE WEST END HAVE TWO AND THREE QUARTER HOURS GONE BY SO FAST!”
West End Whingers

“WE DIDN’T EVEN NOTICE HOW MUCH WE PAID FOR THE WINE AT THE INTERVAL!”
West End Whingers

DOES ANYONE WANT TICKETS FOR TS ELIOT’S ‘THE FAMILY REUNION’ AT THE DONMAR ON MONDAY? WILL SWAP THEM FOR LA CAGE AUX FOLLES TICKETS!”
West End Whingers

“WIG MAESTRO RICHARD MAWBEY EXCELS HIMSELF – TRACIE BENNETT‘S FLICK UPS ARE MAGNIFICENT!”
West End Whingers

Yes, we quite liked it.

Footnotes

* And the news from WEW regular James who chirruped “Paula Wilcox is a star!”

** Memo to selves: Take giant beach ball to the Donmar on Monday.

16 Responses to “(Re)Review – La Cage aux Folles – Playhouse Theatre”

  1. webcowgirl Says:

    Was it really that good? I’m a suspicious old grump and your previous review had me believing this show could just not be saved!


  2. It really is that good. Like Brief Encounter it’s theatrical tea – you leave feeling warm and calm and pleasant.


  3. It really, really, really is that good. Better than theatrical tea – theatrical Merlot. And it doesn’t get any better than that.

  4. Sir Andrew Lloyds Credit Crunch Says:

    Even better than that Holocaust musical?

  5. Sue Says:

    I’m shocked. Shocked! And here I was thinking that I’d give this one a wide berth after seeing it at the Menier with the Whingers earlier in the year!

    As for the beach ball comment: do you remember the short-lived Broadway musical Good Vibrations?


  6. Sue: I do! Boy did that show suck, though it may have been narrowly edged out by BKLYN for worst musical that year.*

    *Yes, In My Life also opened around the same time but that was SO messed up that it got excellence points for being such a trainwreck that it was genuinely entertaining.

  7. J.A. Says:

    Regular at last!

  8. ASU Says:

    And how about those Cagelles? They’re going to be out of work in 6 weeks time! This shouldn’t be allowed, they almost made me wish I was gay… can’t they be slotted into Chicago, Les Mis, Woman in Black or somewhere rather than be lost to the West End?


  9. ASU: Word is that they’ll announce an extension soon with Graham Norton taking over as Albin…

    ..so I guess those Cagelles will still be out of work pretty fast!

  10. CM Says:

    For the first time in as long as I can remember I heard every word without feeling like I was missing half the music! A revelation!!!

    Graham Norton eh….?

  11. RAL Says:

    Slava’s Snow Show dropped several giant beach balls and tons of Faux snow on the audience when I saw it at the New Wimbledon in Sept 2007. It was very exciting and wonderful – and hearing of the beachball bouncing alone is enough to tempt me to La Cage!

  12. alan hammer Says:

    took ex wife she was so pleased she would reconcider marrying me again

  13. Peggy Says:

    Wasn’t all that good if you’d been to see A Little Night Music at the Menier Choc Factory the night before. It was good fun but I was certainly a bit uncomfortable at the audience’s reaction esp. to Hodge.They seemed to be laughing at the wrong things-a bit like I feel about Till Death Us Do Part.But the wine was really nice.And I’m not gay or a transvestite so what do I know?

  14. JohnnyFox Says:

    Brace yourselves for your next visit to LCAF.

    I saw it yesterday with a friend who obviously didn’t know the show (no, not Graham Norton, but we’ll get to him in a minute) and observed some minor cast changes, three understudies, and some added low comedy.

    But the show’s strong, the Cagelles are in excellent form, and the production is good.

    The Thursday audience was populated mainly by out-of-towners and Graham Norton’s pensioner following, 90% of whom were waving tickets clearly priced £0.00 and behaving giddily as if draught Wincarnis were suddenly available on free prescription.

    It took me quite a while to work out why Stephen Pacey is so much a better replacement Georges than Graham Norton is an Albin.

    And then it struck me. This is a MUSICAL, and Norton can’t sing. Not a note. Well maybe four or five but rarely in the same key and never in the right order …

    Very disappointing to see such a good show diminished by Celeb casting. Norton is hugely talented as a raconteur, compere and comedian, and he’ll make watching Eurovision freshly hilarious – but he’s hopelessly lost in this company where every chorus boy and walk-on outclasses him in the singing dancing and acting departments.

    Norton doesn’t appear on Saturdays through most of the run, due to TV commitments. I wonder if Douglas Hodge fancies a Saturday job ????

  15. Liz Says:

    Have seen it twice with Douglas Hodge starring, would like to go again, but don’t think that Graham Norton would do the part justice. Maybe just keep the memories of such a superb show. Went to see Jaesey Boys the night after, and it was a real let-down after LCAF!!!!

  16. Wonbari Says:

    What a shame G.Norton can’t hold a note cause the rest of his performance was very good indeed, supported by a brilliant cast, pity about his karaoke singing. A real shame.Slumdog Millionaire has proofed you don’t need a hollywood budget and a famous cast to get the punters in. Please , please, let us do the same with the west end. No more celebs , who can’t act, dance or sing. But real professionals, please.We pay enough money for it.


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