At ther moment gay drama is heralded but it was not always thus. La Cage aux Folles with its anthem I am What I am made a huge contribution. However it should not be forgotten that drag acts have existed for centuries in theatre. In Japan there were the “Onigita” professional male cross dressers who played female roles as women actors were effectively banned for reasons of morality. Think too of Edna Everage; music hall artists like Marie Lloyd, and cross gender roles in the cinema like Some Like it Hot And Mrs Doubtfire; tv successes like Hinge and Bracket. This creates a problem for the future audience of La Cage Aux Folles. Is it an rock anthem for gays or a traditional drag show? This production took the latter option and we were left with a show that was second rate Danny La Rue.
Its an ATG (Ambassadors Theatre Group) theatre. They tend to cast a few household names from the soaps which creates another problem: a formulaic commercial approach to a ground-breaking musical. Any musical written by Jerry Herman, Harvey Fierstein and Arthur Laurentis will always have enough about it but I was left with an overwhelming and disappointing sense of deja vu. And left I did at the interval as a cocktail in the open on a warm sunny day was a more attractive option for myself and my companion. There we saw many openly gay couples enjoying life so perhaps I have been too harsh on the legacy of La Cage aux Folles.