Musical extravaganza visits Milton Keynes
On first glance of the show La Cage Aux Folles, you might think that it will be a camp extravaganza, but there is more to it than that says star John Partridge.
Best known for playing Christian Clarke in the soap Eastenders, he plays Albin in the musical coming to Milton Keynes Theatre next week.
John said: “It is about the reunification of the family, it is about a mother’s love for her son and that coming together.
“I suspect people will think it is just an over the top story when they look but actually it is a rather heart-warming story.”
It follows the story of Georges, the manager of a Saint Tropez nightclub, and his partner, Albin, a drag artiste and the club’s star attraction.
They live an idyllic existence in the south of France but behind the curtains of this sparkling extravaganza, all may be about to change when Georges’ son Jean-Michel announces his engagement to the daughter of a notorious right-wing politician determined to close down the local colourful night-life.
Drama and hilarity ensue when a meeting of the parents forces them to cover up their vibrant lifestyle. Will Albin be able to play the role of his life to ensure that Jean-Michel can marry his love.
But while the show is one that John is delighted to be involved in, it is not without its challenges.
He said: “It takes two-and-a-half hours to transform and that can be really difficult for me as I am a rather hirsuite man and when the tour is over, I am looking forward to a rest and being allowed to grow my chest hair out. again
“But to me, I am on the stage throughout this show for the entire time and it is a smilar size task to playing Hamlet.”
One of the most famous pieces of music in the show is the song I Am What I Am and while it is a piece that is much revered and performed by many artists, it can create its own difficulties.
John said: “A lot of people do see this show to hear that song so I can approach it with some sense of trepadition as it is a song which is so well known. But we have workedhard on performing that song and it is good shape.”
With the current political climate showcasing increasing intolerance for people who don’t fit normality, you might expect audiences to perhaps be a little bit more cautious in enjoying the show.
“The audience response has been incredible in its reaction, we have been having full houses throughout the tour and people of all ages coming to see the show,” John said.
“We are seeing people becoming a lot more conservative in their political beliefs rather than the liberal ones that people have held previously.
“But it says a lot for the joy and enthusiasm and love that this show seems to generate that people are united. I think it says a lot that entertainment can help others accepy difference within others.”
But for a man who has had a number of well respected roles on the stage and the television does he have a favourite?
John said: “All of the parts that I have played have meant a lot to me. They are all my children and I have loved playing them all so to pick a favourite.
“I do have jobs which I didn’t like doing but there were reasons for doing them and I stand by doing those jobs.”
La Cage Aux Folles comes to Milton Keynes Theatre from Tuesday August 8 to Saturday August 12.
Tickets for the show can be booked in advance by calling the box office on 0844 871 7652 or alternatively by visiting www.atgtickets.co.uk/miltonkeynes.