Last weekend, I hopped over to London to celebrate my friend's 18th birthday. Whilst I was there I quite fancied seeing a musical and, as I quite fancy John Barrowman, I managed to convince one of my nearest and dearest to come with me to see La Cage Aux Folles.
There is something about the atmosphere in a theatre that I can't get over, no matter what you go to see, be it in the West End or a local production, if the show is good you leave with a buzz. I think that audience feed off one another's energy just as much as the actors do.
Naturally James and I had bought the cheapest tickets we could and so ended up sitting on the uppermost level in the front row, in some of the most uncomfortable seats I have ever sat on. I didn't mind too much though because looking down on the people below me and listening to the hum that was hundreds of conversations going on at once, I suddenly felt excited about what we were about to see and just generally happy.
That was when I realised what La Cage Aux Folles meant to me. It was the moments like that, when, sitting with my friends, I was laughing about something inane like the toxic colour of the cider I had just bought or the bourgeoisie who were sitting in the very best seats of the house. (Obviously, this is a joke, we appreciated that most of them would have been spending hard earned cash on those tickets and we laughed all the harder for it.)
There were several moments during the musical where I absolutely cracked up. Nearly every time my favourite character, Jacob, did something. . .
"You hired a waiter and you got a maid."
He was gorgeously flamboyant and bitchy.
Then of course there is the classic scene where Albin is trying to act like a stereotypical straight man. This was the only part of the musical i'd seen before, but I had watched the film version, which is completely different to the stage performance. In any case both interpretations were equally funny and John Barrowman and Simon Burke pulled it off beautifully. Just try to imagine a pair of grown men throwing themselves clumsily and camply across a stage whilst a bar owner and a fisherman watch sceptically. It makes for some serious entertainment.
However, the reason I really laughed was James. Towards the end of the play there is a fairly serious scene where Mr. Dindon (a right-wing politician who wants to close down all clubs like La Cage) is being chased by a transvestite. Now, this may sound comical but in the context of the play, it is not. Mr. Dindon hides under a table and then, just as the table was being pulled off him, James mutters to me:
Death by transvestite, that’s how I want to go.