Friday, July 27, 2012

"La Cage aux Folles" in Review - 24 July 2012

Imagine the glitz and glamour of the Boom Boom Room turned up a hundred times! This production is a grand extavaganza in every sense of the word. Part song-and-dance revue, part music drama plus a bit of stand-up comedy thrown in for good measure, no expenses were spared on the lavish sets and costumes. Certainly no Tanjong Pagar shophouse can possibly contain the gigantic, hyper-realistic sets specially constructed for this production, and actors change into increasingly glittery costumes that outshine even the most lavish Thai transvestite cabaret.

The numbers were so glitzy that they threatened to drown out the story-telling at many moments in the first act, but act 2 followed a stricter narrative flow, where songs are used to move the story along. No stranger to playing drag or outright female roles, Ivan Heng imbued his role of Albin with every drop of fabulousness the role requires, but he manages to flesh out the role so that we see the character's human side, his happiness and pain behind all the make-up and sequins. The main couple's middle-age drama in the beginning is as deeply felt as the main plot that came after. Singing in general had a speech-sing quality, while the orchestra sounded fuller than what we usually get from local musical productions.

My hats off to the Cagelles too, the nightclub's troupe of dancing chorus men/women/whatever, who's exacting job went beyond providing a simple backdrop for the main cast. Consisting of men and women from around the world, their tireless singing, dancing, acting and even acrobatic maneuvers were most impressive. The show's most complicated dance moves belonged to them and they pulled it off like the seasoned professionals that they are. This production is in every sense a feast for the eyes and ears, and one to make local theatre proud. Do not miss the chance to catch it!

La Cage aux Folle runs till 4 August 2012. Check out the Events Page for ticketing details.

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