La Cage Aux Folles

“This is an incredible revival and should be seen by every musical theatre fan!"

Regent's Park Open Air Theatre has long been a ‘must visit’ venue over the summer months. They are renowned for their spectacular revivals of popular musicals and this year is no exception; 40 years after its Broadway debut, this new London revival of ‘La Cage Aux Folles’ can be found between the trees of this beautiful outdoor venue. The story unfolding before us is one of love, identity and dreams. 

The first mention must go to Stephen Mear; choreographer extraordinaire. The opening number routine sets the scene perfectly for the venue of a drag nightclub introducing us to a whole host of colourful characters,  with fantastically camp choreography performed exceptionally by the ‘Cagelle’s’. The wonderful dancing continues throughout the show from large group numbers to small duets performed with sublime grace. With the enhancements of costumes by Ryan Dawson Laight the whole show has a luxurious, glamorous feel to it. In particular the Act 1 closing dress and the ‘Chicken Dance’ costumes are stand out designs here. 

Our 2 leading characters of Georges and Albin are played by Billy Carter and Carl Mullaney respectively and their partnership is wonderful to witness. Two gay men who have raised a child and are told they do not belong, their story is one we have seen but one that holds such an impact even 40 years after their original inception. Mullaney is absolutely breathtaking as Albin and deserves to be nominated (and to win) every award possible for this portrayal. Mullaney has a wonderful warm quality, with an intense strength and power. Their closing of Act 1 is beautiful and a compelling watch. Billy Carter shines here as Georges, he’s the MC of ‘La Cage Aux Folles’ and does a fantastic job with comedic timing while also performing beautifully emotional songs such as ‘Look Over There’ which is a guaranteed tear-jerker. 

The ensemble of this show make a fantastic team, each doing their part whether that be moving set pieces, assisting with costume changes or sharing their chips it’s a show that utilises the ensemble cast well. Special mention must be awarded to Craig Armstrong who in Act 1 was a beautiful Cagelle and then in Act 2 got to perform his understudy track as Edward Dindon; the right-wing political candidate who believes everything about La Cage Aux Folles and the people within it is abhorrent and wrong. Craig was exceptional in this role and did a fantastic job of portraying such a disgusting character. 

I cannot review this show without discussing the set design.  Outdoor theatre is not easy to design for as there are some limitations and restrictions faced but Colin Richmond has a wonderful mind for design and did incredibly well on this show. Transitioning from a dark nightclub, to a dressing room, to a seafront café, all scenery is well thought out and brilliantly designed. 

There will be a rain of awards nominations and undoubtedly a lot of wins for this show I am sure, and every single one will be thoroughly deserved. 

I have been an avid fan of the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre summer season for many years, having attended many musicals there and without a doubt, La Cage Aux Folles is the best show I have ever seen. This is an incredible revival and should be seen by every musical theatre fan! 

This show was reviewed on the 9th August 2023.  La Cage Aux Folles runs at the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre until the 16th September 2023.  Tickets available here: La Cage aux Folles | Open Air Theatre

Review written by Rosie Browne

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Photo credit: Johan Persson & Mark Senior

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