New US entertainment show Cages opened on 21 September 2022 at the Riverside Studios in London.
Imported from LA, the show is playing at the Riverside Studios until 1 January 2023.
So far, reviews have been slow to come in, so far just the Guardian, Times and BroadwayWorld.
Cages is an intimate and mysterious gothic romance, promising to be an utterly unique live experience: the show weaves state-of-the-art 3D video and animation with live performance and original songs into a rock opera
Cages stars CJ Baran as Woolf and Benjamin J Romans as Wondershow, both of whom also created the show and wrote the music and lyrics. Jack Butterworth will take over as Woolf from 23 October 2022.
The ensemble includes Adriam Falconcer, Ashley Rowe, Gracie Hancock, Greg Oliver (and cover Woolf), Siobhan James and Talia Palamathanan. Swings include Matt Holland.
Cages is produced and co-directed by Scenario Two’s Anthony Lilley and John Berry, who recently co-produced Into the Woods at the Theatre Royal Bath.
"An interminable, flat-footed dystopian musical"
"I wonder if someone should be selling hallucinogenic drugs at the door? It’s certainly hard to see how audiences could get much out of this musical gothic romance if they went in stone-cold sober"
"A good deal of technical wizardry has been thrown at the project, yet very little effort seems to have gone into the storytelling."
"If you’ve ever sat through one of those shape-shifting Dolby sound demonstrations at your local multiplex, you’ll get the drift."
"The show's Unique (as in only) Selling Point is its visual effects, especially the video animations and holograms... almost all of Cages' dramatic heft - such as it is - comes not from the script or the songs but from the impressive computer-generated imagery which at times stands toe-to-toe with that used on West End shows like Life of Pi."
"Cages is undeniably a very pretty show with eye candy aplenty. This, alongside the creative choice to break up the action into bitesize and formulaic chapters (voiceover, song, rinse and repeat) and the distinct lack of dramatic depth gives the impression that this import is best thought of as a collection of staged music videos."
"Hologram rock musical is a dreary dystopia"
"An overreliance on technology and a doomy score can’t replace old-fashioned chemistry in this emotionless offering"
"No wonder the love story feels bloodless when it depends on hitting marks and matching sight-lines, rather than old-fashioned chemistry and rapport. It doesn’t help that the characters communicate via silent-movie intertitles, with a narrator (Harwood Gordon, another hologram) doing all the talking."
"Fails to replicate genuine emotion"
"Cages is a film, a musical and a technological firework display. It purports to be a show about the power of emotion, yet you’re likely to come away with no more than a sense of mild irritation: it’s considerably less profound than it believes itself to be."
"While the score liberally borrows from other artists, it does have moments of impact, and a handful of songs just about come together. Even if British audiences might find it a touch too reminiscent of the talking moon from The Mighty Boosh, the sea shanty performed by Gordon is quite lovely"