Glamour and tolerance: ‘La Cage Aux Folles’

BEN O’Reilly may be one of Canberra’s most sophisticated actors, but you can fairly bet he’s never had a coat quite like the one he sported at the Crowne Plaza for a media preview this morning of the coming musical “La Cage Aux Folles.”

O’Reilly, you see, gets to plays Albin/Zaza, the star drag performer at a nightclub in St Tropez. As he swanned down the stairs today singing the showstopper, “I Am What I Am” to the accompaniment of Rose Shorney on the piano, the show’s director Garrick Smith confessed that he and many of his friends from SUPA Productions had spent endless hours sewing diamantes onto the swirling white fur coat dreamed up by costume designer Suzan Cooper.

Readers will know the story – you’ll have seen the film adaptation, “The Birdcage,” starring the late Robin Williams.

Briefly, Georges (Jarrad West in this production) and Albin (O’Reilly) have lived happily together for 20 years above La Cage until Georges’ son brings his prospective in-laws home to meet the family. It’s an affirmation of love and tolerance in the end, but not without a battle on the way.

As he batted his eyelid at us, “CityNews” asked O’Reilly if he’d considered playing the part of Norma Desmond in Stephen Pike’s coming production of “Sunset Boulevard”.

“Darling, I’m much too young,” he cooed.

“La Cage Aux Folles,” Supa Productions at the ANU Arts Centre, Nov 7-22, bookings open to 6257 1950 or 6247 4442 .

Dinner/Show $75.00 – (book at Vivaldi 6257 2718) Ooh La La Show and interval drinks & canapés $57 (book at Vivaldi 6257 2718)

[Photos by Gary Schafer]

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