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Review Thu Dec 22 2011

La Cage Aux 'Fail'

LA CAGE.jpg

George Hamilton and Christopher Sieber; La Cage Aux Folles. Photo: Paul Kolnik.

Jean Poiret's La Cage Aux Folles, the Tony award-winning Broadway musical centering on the story of a gay couple--Georges, manager of a Saint-Tropez nightclub that features drag performances and Albin/Zaza, the club's main attraction--has always been a popular, fan favorite; however, the show's current revival, directed by Terry Johnson and starring George Hamilton and Christopher Sieber, respectively, isn't really that much to sing or dance about.

The musical, now playing at the Bank of America Theatre, stays true to the plot: Georges' and Albin's son, Jean-Michel (Billy Harrigan Tighe), wants to introduce his fiancee Anne (Allison Blair McDowell) and her super-conservative parents to his family, but is apprehensive because of their extravagant lifestyle. To make Jean-Michel feel more comfortable, Georges attempts to "straighten" Albin out by teaching him to act, walk and talk like John Wayne, in an attempt to appear masculine to Anne's parents. When the attempt fails, Albin dons a drag outfit instead and assumes the role of Georges' "wife" and Jean-Michel's "mother." After the families meet, however, Jean-Michel leads the charge to end the charade and has a change of heart, allowing Albin to "be who he is."

LA CAGE 2.jpg

George Hamilton; La Cage Aux Folles. Photo: Paul Kolnik.

During the production, the thing that resonated the most was Hamilton's performance; granted, Georges wasn't exactly supposed to be flamboyant (as he put it, he is the "plain homosexual" in the couple), but he was so robotic and wooden that a little flamboyance of any kind would've been welcome. Sieber didn't necessarily disappoint as Albin/Zaza, but in some places, his performance lacked energy, and his almost non-existent chemistry with Hamilton was disappointing, especially since they are the story's central characters. And while I wasn't expecting Robin Williams and Nathan Lane (who had excellent chemistry in the big screen adaptation, The Birdcage), a bit more of a connection between Hamilton and Sieber would've made a huge difference.

Through the ornate costumes, the "Les Cagelles" musical numbers and a few moments of chuckle-worthy dialogue, none of them were really enough to save this performance.

D├ęcevante, indeed.

La Cage Aux Folles is playing now through Jan. 1, 2012, at the Bank of America Theatre, 18 W. Monroe. Tickets are $32-$95 and are on sale at the box office and online. For more information, call 800-775-2000.

 
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