By James Grayson (Twitter - @jamesAgrayson)
Wanting to raise the bar was the reason behind why Yeadon Amateur Operatic & Dramatic Society’s chose La Cage Aux Folles as their spring production. A brave move, some would say, based on the tools needed like sets, costumes and male dancers. But the decision has been a masterstroke as YAODS have produced a fabulous musical.
Colourful, humorous, mixed with fine acting and memorable musical numbers, such as Gloria Gaynor’s What Are What We Are, La Cage will live long in the memory for years to come. While the two main stars deserve the plaudits, there were superb performances from the whole cast and crew.
The chemistry of the leading men Georges (David Kirk) and Albin/ZaZa (Andrew Walton) ensure that La Cage’s star shines brightly throughout the production.
Kirk, who enjoyed a fantastic stage presence, is magnificent. His never-wavering smile and facial expressions light up the stage and the audience enjoy watching him perform. Walton, who has the harder task of dressing up in drag, is equal to him. Walton, who admitted it was his hardest role yet, is ZaZa, a world-renowned and temperamental drag artist.
The story is easy to follow. Gay couple Georges and Albin are enjoying life running their famous drag club, until Georges’ son Jean-Michel (Rob Durkin) announces his engagement to the daughter (Emma Fearnley) of a far-right politician. Albin is initially told he will have to be ‘uncle Al’ and ‘play it straight’ for when fiancée’s parents come for tea as Jean-Michel’s real mother will be there. In one of the most memorable scenes, Georges tries to teach Albin how to be a straight man and act like John Wayne.
All is going well until Jean-Michel’s mother fails to show which Albin forcing back into the role of ZaZa and become mother. And this is when the comedy reaches boiling point as Georges and Albin try, but fail to act normal towards Dindon (Garth Rookes), who soon sees through them, leading to a hilarious finale.
Alongside Walton and Kirk, the butler Jacob (Greg Silverwood) enjoys the limelight with a marvellous performance as Albin’s faithful ‘maid’. Jacob has his fair share of one-liners and the audience love his role.
While the main actors take credit, praise should be reserved for the dancers, orchestra and backstage crew who ensured the difficult production went without a hitch. YAODS knew it would be tough, but La Cage has been a huge all-round success.
Yeadon audiences have been given a treat and La Cage will be a hard act to follow next year when Me and My Girl will be performed at Yeadon Town Hall.
The bar has been set.