Reviews are coming in for the revival of La Cage aux Folles at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre in London.
Directed by Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre’s outgoing Artistic Director, Timothy Sheader, La Cage Aux Folles stars Carl Mullaney (Chicago, Les Misérables) as Albin, and Billy Carter (A Moon For The Misbegotten) as Georges, alongside Ben Culleton as Jean-Michel, Julie Jupp as Marie Dindon, Shakeel Kimotho as Jacob, Debbie Kurup (The Cher Show) as Jacqueline, John Owen-Jones (The Great British Bake Off Musical, Les Miserables) as Edward Dindon, and Sophie Pourret (42nd Street) as Anne.
The cast also includes Jak Allen-Anderson (Hanna), Craig Armstrong (Cagelle), Tom Bales (Cagelle), Taylor Bradshaw (Cagelle), Daniele Coombe (Mme. Renaud), Jordan Lee Davies (Chantal), Nicole Deon (Ensemble), Lewis Easter (Cagelle/Swing/Dance Captain), Harvey Ebbage (Cagelle), Emma Johnson (Ensemble/Swing), George Lynham (Cagelle), JP McCue (Cagelle), Rishard-Kyro Nelson (Cagelle/Swing), Alexandra Waite-Roberts (Ensemble) and Hemi Yeroham (Francis).
La Cage Aux Folles has a book by Harvey Fierstein, and music and lyrics by Jerry Herman, and sees Georges, Albin and their son Jean-Michel re-discover the true meaning of family, and of putting yourself last so that the ones you love can come first.
The show boasts classic songs such as ‘I Am What I Am’ and ‘The Best of Times’.
The production’s creative team includes Thyrza Abrahams (Associate Director), Amy Ball (Casting Director), Arthur Carrington (Associate Casting Director), Guy Common (Make Up Designer), Ryan Dawson Laight (Costume Designer), James Hassett (Associate Sound Designer), Howard Hudson (Lighting Designer), Nick Lidster (Sound Designer), Ingrid Mackinnon (Season Associate – Intimacy Support), Stephen Mear (Choreographer), Ebony Molina (Associate Choreographer), Janis Price (Voice & Text Director), Colin Richmond (Set Designer), Tom Slade (Assistant Musical Director), Ben van Tienen (Musical Director) and Jennifer Whyte (Musical Supervisor).
La Cage Aux Folles is now playing at the Open Air Theatre until 23 September 2023.
Read reviews from the Guardian, Telegraph and more, with further reviews to be added.
La Cage aux Folles reviews
"Wonderful fun, packed with emotion, and surprisingly topical"
"Tim Sheader’s joyous new production at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre sees him bow out of his 16-year tenure on a marvellous high"
"With a predominantly queer company and creative team, Tim Sheader’s joyous new production at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre reminds us of all that has changed over the past four decades. Yet while watching the spectacular drag queen dancers, you can’t help but think of recent attempts in the US to curb those freedoms."
"Sheader’s staging is really just wonderful fun. The ensemble numbers, complete with obligatory wigs, false eyelashes and absurdly high heels, fizz with energy thanks to Stephen Mear’s choreography. Happily, there’s no stinting on the costumes or make-up either, with almost every scene providing some lavish new outfit."
"There is a temptation to ramp up the campness and lose the nuance, but Mullaney strikes just the right balance, capturing Albin’s self-doubt in A Little More Mascara before he transforms into his alter ego Zaza."
"Dazzling revival is hilarious and heartfelt"
"This adaptation of the classic musical is a joy, from the faded nightclub set to Carl Mullaney’s showstopping I Am What I Am"
"Tim Sheader’s revival of the 1983 musical about a gay nightclub owner and his drag queen partner is a total joy. Ryan Dawson Laight’s costumes dazzle; one skirt has its own set of wheels, another its own set of legs. Stephen Mear’s choreography is slick but – even better – very funny. Harvey Fierstein’s witty book still crackles 40 years on from the Broadway premiere and Jerry Herman’s heartfelt score (so pure and romantic) seduces us all."
"Playing the central role of Albin, the nightclub’s headline drag act, is Carl Mullaney, an actor with cabaret in his blood. His patter is excellent, his singing better yet. Above all, there’s an extraordinary vulnerability in Mullaney’s performance."
"For all the madcap costumes, flashes of leather, trilling singers and eccentric cabaret acts, this is a simple and moving love story that gives two men their chance to stride off into the sunset."
"The iconic gay musical has taken on renewed relevance amidst the culture wars of 2023, but this is a gloriously big-hearted revival"
"Current right-wing scaremongering over drag acts and people’s right to claim their own identities inevitably casts a shadow of renewed relevancy over this show. In this light, Sheader really brings to the fore in Fierstein and Herman’s book and lyrics the warm and genuine sense of family that binds everyone at the club together."
"The wonderful Mullaney threads this vulnerability throughout his performance, starting with ‘(A Little More) Mascara’, a gorgeous ode to the empowering effect of putting on drag. He and Carter, as Georges, create a sweepingly romantic relationship amid the manager-star squabbling."
"This is a big blow-out of a show that wraps up as a gloriously camp celebration of found family and living exactly as who you are. It needs no apology."
"It is what it is: irresistible"
"Forty years on the plot has lost some of its shock value, but Jerry Herman’s musical version of the tale of two gay men who run a drag club in St Tropez gives Tim Sheader the chance to bow out in style as artistic director of Regent’s Park."
"The dancers move like leopards; the choreographer Stephen Mear keeps them on a tight leash. Carl Mullaney, meanwhile, makes a hugely appealing Albin, all self-pity and imperious gestures"
"If the first act takes its time unfurling, Mullaney nails I Am What I Am, the can-can sequence is magnificently over the top, and Ryan Dawson Laight’s costumes never miss a chance to dazzle."
"All lamé frock and no knickers"
"The dance numbers are great but the ropey storyline and poor acting in Tim Sheader’s glitzy production drag it down"
"It’s gorgeous to look at, thanks to fantastically camp set and costume designs and a supporting troupe of drag kings and queens. But it’s also dated and emotionally hollow, all lamé frock and no knickers"
"There’s no real sense of affection between Billy Carter’s suave but underpowered nightclub owner Georges and his flappy, melodramatic partner and star drag turn Albin (Carl Mullaney). Nor between Georges and the son he conceived in a night of heterosexual madness – a part in which Ben Culleton manages simultaneously to overact and be utterly wooden."
"Mullaney rousingly sings the latter to bring the curtain down on Act One, and Carter brings a fluent, roguish charm to his songs. The best moments, though, come when choreographer Stephen Mear has the supporting ensemble on stage"