Neptune Theatre in Halifax brings its 2011-2012 season to a close with La Cage aux Folles, Harvey Fierstein's classic, campy account of two aging lovers and their cheeky-chic nightclub.
While most are likely more familiar with the mega-award winning French farce's anglicized film adaptation, The Birdcage (Nathan Lane & Robin Williams), the original version is better in its nuance and subtleties.
That said, this is 'Cage' - outlandish, outrageous, over-the-top burlesque at its very best. Stylish and sexy, the Can-Can Chorus alone is enought to give status-quo Nova Scotians a stiff, swift - and much-needed - kick in the pants.
A 'Titz & Glitz' opening number sets the stage for the two-hour-plus soiree of music, dance, slapstick and sentiment.
Making his Neptune debut, Ian Simpson is sure and strong as George, the dashing, well-dressed man-about-town and partner of Albin - performed above-and-beyond by Steven Gallagher - the dramatic, darling drag queen and star of the pair's nightly club finale.
When Albin's son annouces that his fiancee's ultra-conservative family are coming to visit, the ensuing efforts to cover up the couple's relationship quickly dissolves into frisky disarray.
Front and center to that frolic is the family bulter/maid Jacob - played to perfection by David Lopez. The hulky, hunky thespian is so good, in fact, that he comes close to stealing the show.
But Simpson and Gallagher are better, together, and their comedic chemistry, timing and synergy - well-enhanced by a solid supporting cast and crew - drives the production to new heights and depths of emotion. It is here, where their hearts meet again in middle-age, that audiences both connect and respond.
Though all-dolled up in silks, satins, leather and lace, La Cage aux Folles is, at its flashy, flamboyant heart, a love story.
And it is a fine and fitting way for artistic director George Pothitos and all at Neptune to bring a brilliant season to a close. Don't miss this show! ~ SPC
La Cage aux Folles at Neptune Theatre in Halifax until May 27