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Theatre Review: La Cage aux Folles

Charr Crail
 

Charr Crail

Lots of musicals feature lithe, leggy dancers in heels, decked out in feathers and sequins and bikinis… and not a whole lot else. The thing about “La Cage aux Folles” is that the dancers doing leg kicks are male. This gender-bender comedy from the 80's focuses on a gay couple who run a cabaret-style nightclub on the French Riviera. They also have a 20-year-old son who gets engaged to the daughter of an extremely conservative politician. How will the gay parents finesse this delicate social dilemma involving future in-laws from a completely different background? And how will Music Circus audiences, who tend to favor traditional Broadway classics, relate to a show with so many men dressed as women?

Tuesday’s audience sure seemed to be having fun as they were singing and clapping along.

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(L to R) Brent Barrett (Georges), Alan Mingo, Jr. (Albin), Kevin Cooney (M.Dindon), Michael Lowney (Jean-Michel) and Julie Kavanagh (Anne Dindon) in La Cage aux Folles, produced by Music Circus at the Wells Fargo Pavilion August 19-24, 2014. Photos by Charr Crail.

And really, other than the gay couple at the center of the plot, “La Cage” is a pretty old-fashioned show. The story unfolds in the bubbly style of a black-and-white Hollywood comedy from the 1940s. And the music frequently tips the hat to Broadway icons like Irving Berlin with songs that sound a lot like “There’s No Business Like Show Business.” You could say “La Cage” is an homage.

Expect to see a parade of over-the-top costumes and Busby Berkeley-style choreography, as the good-natured men-in-drag pose as Marilyn Monroe, or a bevy of busty ballerinas in a bird cage. It all peaks in the second act with a nostalgic song in a fancy restaurant, triggering a heartwarming dance number between the future in-laws.

I’ll give this production plenty of points for feel-good sentiment and fancy footwork. And there’s a cute boy-gets-girl story to go along the feathers and falsies and wigs. It all makes for an entertaining show with an upbeat message at the end – something that almost every theatergoer enjoys.

The Music Circus production of “La Cage aux Folles” continues through Sunday, August 24th at the Wells Fargo Pavilion in Sacramento.

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Cast of La Cage aux Folles, produced by Music Circus at the Wells Fargo Pavilion August 19-24, 2014. Photos by Charr Crail.

 Music CircusCalifornia Musical TheatreLa Cage aux Folles