"We Are What We" punctuated both the point of the play and the importance of the club - both are really about accepting our differences and celebrating the community of freedom to be.
The cross dressing theme runs through the entire show with female valets in monkey suits and mustaches, lots of head scratching speculation as to whether that woman is being played by a woman and discreet attempts to identify telltale undergarments. OK, I'm sure I'm not the only one.
Even Jacob,the butler is in drag and refers to herself as the maid, and like everyone else, aspires to get on stage in La Cage aux Folles. It's worth noting that the character of Jacob was a last minute cast change that was a brilliant stroke of luck. Nikko Kimzin was DAZZLING and positively belly-laugh funny as the muy caliente Latin butler-come-maid who's a equal parts protector and predator over the couples' son Jean-Michel, played by Zach Trimmer.
Speaking of Jean-Michel, the plot line centers on how he, presumably the only hetrosexual on all of the Cote d'Azur falls not only for a woman, but for the daughter of Monsiuer Dindon, played by Larry Cahn. M. Dindon is the hard headed, hard hitting leader of a moral cleansing faction bent on cleaning up the bawdy clubs on the Riviera, of which La Cage is likely the bawdiest.
And M. Dindon is coming to dinner.
- It doesn't help that Jean's parents, Albin, played by the perfectly dramatic Jonathan Hammond and George played by Charles Shaughnessy (of "The Nanny" fame) live above the club in a garishly gay apartment. Their effort to "clean up their act" results in an outrageously tacky religious redecoration that's positively ridiculous.
Jean implores his father to invite his detached and disinterested biological mother to attend the dinner, slighting the hyper-emotional Albin with a request that he play the role of "Uncle Al" , opening the door to a preposterously funny series of hetro-lessons in "Masculinity" including a failed attempt to eat toast like John Wayne. You've gotta watch to understand.
By the way, mom is a no-show. Albin is maternally incensed and heartbroken for her boy and springs to action employing his special skills to salvage Jean's dinner.
Hammond's Albin is a character with such complicated appeal it was easy to feel for him and to understand the pain of rejection that Jean's proposal causes. Albin is a little broken, a little silly, a little self indulgent and a whole lot lovable. He's every bit the lady of the house and the emotional surge of estrogen is worn on his sleeve. His performance in "A Little More Mascara" spoke to me in a way ladies AND queens will appreciate As Elizabeth Taylor once said, " Pour yourself a drink. Put some lipstick on and pull yourself together". The show must go on.
"Look Over There" brought me to tears more than once and really hit home in delivering the message that family are the people who love you above all else and turning your back on those people to keep up appearances is a dangerously hurtful thing to do. It's a poignant story wrapped in a decadent package but it's an important story nonetheless. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
I highly recommend La Cage aux Folles at NSMT. It's running through October 6th. I would not miss this one. NSMT just keeps getting better. Tickets at: www.nsmt.org