May 27, 2002
Village Theatre's 'La Cage' is pure fun and rousing entertainment
by Deborah Stone
Arts and Entertainment
Village Theatre closes out its 2001-02 season with the razzle-dazzle musical "La Cage aux Folles," based on the French play by Jean Poiret and directed/choreographed by Steve Tomkins.
Village's production is a zany mix of farce, drag show, drawing room humor and musical theater at its best. However, beneath all its flashy finery beats a poignant message of the importance of family, love and tolerance- three ingredients which give the show its true heart and soul.
"La Cage aux Folles" is set in a risqu, bawdy St. Tropez nightclub where drag queens strut their stuff in flamboyant style (yes, there is plenty of satin, sequins and feathers!) and wild fantasies abound. The club's proprietor, Georges (Hugh Hastings) and his partner, Albin (Richard Gray), who is also Zaza, the club's featured drag queen, are forced to deal with Georges' son's decision to marry the daughter of a far right conservative politician.
The son, Jean-Michel (Joshua Bott), insists on making his home scene respectable and ultra Catholic for the upcoming visit of his future in-laws.
Attempts to achieve this transformation, amid an atmosphere of gay hedonism, result in total insanity and uproar when the straight-laced politician and his wife arrive.
Village's production works so well because it has a strong cast, fabulous costumes (designer Karen Ledger) and clips along at a rapid pace, taking audiences on a delightfully zany ride.
Cast standouts include Gray, for his beautiful voice and his ability to give dignity to his character; Hastings, for his charm and debonair manner; and Stanley Perryman, as Jacob, the butler/maid of Georges' and Albin's living quarters.
Perryman goes over the top in his mannerisms and brings down the house in a number of the scenes.
Kudos to Les Cagelles, the eight-man, three-woman chorus line who energetically sing and dance their way through one high octane number after another. "La Cage aux Folles" is pure fun and rousing entertainment. The show runs through June 23. For ticket information, call (425) 392-2202.