La Cage Aux Folles Opening Night

Rebecca Varidel
21st Apr 2023

La Cage Aux Folles is the perfect Sydney night out of fabulous fun! The show with music and lyrics by Jerry Herman, book by Harvey Fierstein, was ground-breaking when it premiered in the early '80s based on the 1973 French farce and 1978 French comedy film.

Now, in its current revival at the glamourous and gilded State Theatre Sydney, La Cage Aux Folles is just as big on the sequins and significance, as it was when first written.

Outstanding performances by the 20-year married couple, Michael Cormick (Georges) and Paul Capsis (Albin) provide the heart of the story and allow the space for the rest of the cast in their radius to also shine. Perfectly synched with camp glamour yet balanced with heart rendering compassion and humour, Paul Capsis as Albin delivered a surprisingly nuanced portrayal of his role. His personal vulnerability and the loving heart of Capsis' Albin beguile us just as much, if not more, than his cabaret star confidence. Capsis expands on his award winning performance history as the penultimate character actor of our city. Vocally Cormick is sublime, then he layers this and his commanding stage presence with all the conflicting choices and emotions of any long term wedded un-bliss. Yet perhaps it is those loving moments as he sings Song On The Sand that hold us most fondly.

La Cage Aux Folles opens strong with the all-male revue - show within the show - and anthem We Are What We Are - announced by Michael Cormick as MC Georges in his sequined jacket. This grand opening captures our attention and hearts from the get-go, announcing the setting, and the theme, and also subtly introducing those beautiful raw edges that will continue to emerge later. 

Adding to the oom pah pah Anthony Brandon Wong is just superlatively exquisite as the maid (butler) giving plenty of sass and attitude with the right amount of hip (or is that lip?). Lucia Mastrantone is over the top outstanding and puts the hilarious cherry on the icing. Along with the rest of the all singing all dancing cast. Which we just have to mention individually because La Cage Aux Folles was wholly held by all: from son Noah Mullins through Zoe Ventoura, Peter Phelps, Chloe Malek, James Lee, Matthew Jenson, Nick Jones, Nick Eynaud, Liam Peel, Ethan Ritchie, Trent Sinclair, Max Walburn, and Rachel Cole. 

There is everything to love about this show, the veritable step perfect choreography, from taps to heels, by Veronica Beattie George. The staging that morphs between front of curtain to scenes behind the show within the show, to the apartment home behind the nightclub is superbly achieved, adding to the fun. Costumes, makeup, wigs add to the magic.

The special encore season of the marvellous musical mischief - La Cage Aux Folles is performing at the State Theatre Sydney until 23 April 2023.

Photos by John McRae