Closing Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre’s summer season this year is the beloved La Cage aux Folles. Celebrating its 40th Anniversary this year, La Cage is based on the play by Jean Poiret and won the 1984 Tony Award for Best Musical.

Credit: Johan Persson

It tells the tale of Georges and Albin, a gay couple and nightclub owners, as their son comes home to tell them he’s marrying a woman from a very conservative family. Chaos ensues as the family tries to keep up appearances to impress the future in-laws.

With a witty book by Harvey Fierstein, and music and lyrics by Jerry Herman, this show is an upbeat treat with infamous hits including “I Am What I Am” and “The Best of Times”.

It’s worth mentioning I had high expectations of this show and I was not disappointed! The entire show is a camp, glitter-filled extravaganza. This show is enjoyable alone just for Herman’s sumptuous and iconic score but the execution of this production only amplifies this.

I particularly love the costumes, designed by Ryan Dawson Laight – especially those of the Cagelles chorus; I loved that each outfit within each number had its own uniqueness for each of the characters whilst still feeling cohesive.

Choreography by Stephen Mear is absolutely faultless. I was astounded at how graceful and elegant all of the numbers are as well as the wide range of genres included.

Credit: Johan Persson

The real gem of this production is the performances of the two leads: Billy Carter as Georges and Carl Mullaney as Albin. Their chemistry is beautiful and both actors have such nuanced and honest performances whilst still maintaining strong comedic timing. Shakeel Kimotho as Jacob is a delight and a ray of sunshine – even in the heavy parts of the show. Their energy is infectious and I often found myself searching for them in group scenes to see how they were reacting to each moment of the show.

It’s worth saying that the show isn’t perfect – there are moments where the energy seems to drop a little; “(A Little More) Mascara” feels like a significant drop in pace following on from the Cagelles’ incredible performance of “We Are What We Are”. There were also a couple of jokes, particularly those in the stand-up pieces set at the club, which didn’t quite seem to land with the audience. However, these moments didn’t dampen the overall impression of the show.

Overall, this production is a beautiful tribute to being true to yourself and loving deeply. It makes for an entertaining evening out and I left with my heart full of love. It is a joy to watch!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

{🎟 AD – PR invite – Tickets were gifted in exchange for an honest review}

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