Theater Review: LA CAGE AUX FOLLES (Trinity Repertory in Providence, RI)

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by Emily Brenner on June 8, 2024

in Theater-Boston,Theater-Regional


If you are looking for a quality show with poignancy and heart, but ultimately just want to leave your worries at the doorstep and have a good time, head on over to La Cage aux Folles playing at Trinity Repertory in the center of hopping Providence, RI until June 30. The conceit, based on the play by Jean Poiret, and with a book by Harvey Fierstein and music and lyrics by Jerry Herman, is ripe for farce and fun but also heart and depth.

Stephen Thorne as Georges and C. Mingo Long as Albin.

Husbands Georges and Albin (owner and star performer, respectively, of the show’s titular drag club) are forced to act straight for a night to fool their son’s ultra conservative hopefully soon-to-be in-law’s. The complications and hilarity that ensue, mixed with the exploration of what it is like to feel shamed, marginalized, and wrong for being who you are, and then ultimately striving to embrace that same self is what makes this show special and sadly always relevant. That, and a slew of irresistible Tony-Award winning showtunes.

Alex LeBlanc as Mercedes

Stephen Thorne is at his best as Georges the host and MC, immediately drawing us into the action of the show-within-the show (and the show itself), frolicking about the stage and audience with impressive agility. He moves well and has great tenderness and comic timing, yet his voice sometimes struggled under the vocal demands of the role in his non-MC persona. C. Mingo Long as drag queen extraordinaire Albin is a delight from start to finish, particularly his vocal prowess and ability to temper and modulate emotions, delivering them thus more powerfully. His “I Am What I Am” Act I closer is a stunning example of this; an iconic anthem that is everything you want it to be.

The Cast

Kayla Shimizu as Anne and Michael Jennings Mahoney as Jean-Michel

The rest of the cast surely delivers expertly as well, but the real shout-outs must go to Les Cagelles, five men in drag who perform the hell out of every dance number often while executing complex tap dancing and splits with precision and vivacity while singing beautifully and in harmony. Aided by Olivera Gajic’s wide-ranging colorful, fun, elegant, and over-the-top costumes and director/choreographer Taavon Gamble’s Broadway-style dances, these talented folks were a real highlight of the show.

Stephen Thorne as Georges and C. Mingo Long as Albin
C. Mingo Long as Albin, Dereks Thomas as Dindon, Jenna Lea Scott as Marie Dindon,
Stephen Thorne as Georges, and Rachael Warren as Jacqueline

Yes, it’s campy and kitschy, but La Cage is so much more than that. At its heart, it models not only love and acceptance, but the decidedly Buddhist teaching of the importance of living in presence. That, even with all our personal daily struggles, political strife and haters making their voices heard, we each have the power to live our truth through the language of moment-to-moment presence and love. As they sing so beautifully at Trinity Rep: “So hold this moment fast. And live and love as hard as you know how. Because the best of times it is now. Is now. Is now.” Happy Pride Month!

C. Mingo Long as Albin

photos by Mark Turek

La Cage aux Folles
Trinity Rep
in the Sarah and Joseph Dowling, Jr. Theater, 201 Washington Street in Providence, RI
ends on June 30, 2024
for tickets, call 401.351-4242 or visit Trinity Rep

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