Casting has been confirmed for the English language World Premiere of La Cage aux Folles [The Play]. Jean Poiret’s seminal classic spawned four blockbuster films and a Tony Award-winning musical. This new translation of the heartfelt farce by theatrical legend Simon Callow will star Michael Matus (Richard III – National Theatre and Headlong Theatre Tour, and King Lear – The Duke of York’s Theatre) in the role of Georges and Paul Hunter (Founder of Told by an Idiot) as Albin. The cast is completed by Sarah Lam, Syrus Lowe, Peter Straker, Mark Cameron, Arthur Hughes, Simon Hepworth, Louise Bangay, Georgina Ambrey and William Nelson. It will be directed by Park Theatre’s Artistic Director, Jez Bond, with a national press night on Wednesday 19th February at 7pm.
Nightclub owner Georges and his dazzling drag artiste partner Albin create the most spectacular shows in St. Tropez. But when Georges’ son Laurent announces his engagement to the daughter of a notoriously right-wing politician determined to bring the curtain down on the town’s vibrant nightlife, the real performance begins.
As Georges and Albin entertain their soon-to-be in laws and attempt to conceal their true nature for the sake of their son, how long can the façade last?
Translator Simon Callow is an actor, author and director. He joined the National Theatre in 1979, where he created the role of Mozart in Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus. His many one-man shows include The Mystery of Charles Dickens, Being Shakespeare, A Christmas Carol, Inside Wagner’s Head, Juvenalia and, most recently, The Man Jesus. He has appeared in many films including A Room with a View, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Shakespeare in Love, Phantom of the Opera and has recently played The Duke of Sandringham in the television series Outlander. He directed Shirley Valentine in the West End and on Broadway, Single Spies at the National Theatre and Carmen Jones at the Old Vic, as well as the film of The Ballad of the Sad Café. He has written biographies of Oscar Wilde, Charles Laughton and Charles Dickens, and three autobiographical books: Being An Actor, Love Is Where It Falls, and My Life in Pieces.
Simon Callow said: “La Cage aux Folles is a great – and brilliantly funny – play about living the life you want to live. It’s also a bit of an eye-opener about what it was to be out and gay in the early seventies. But there’s nothing remotely preachy about it – it’s zany, outrageous, mad. A rampant farce, and utterly life-affirming.”
Jez Bond said: “Despite attitudes to the LGBTQ community having changed over the last few years, we live in a world that’s divided. Nearly fifty years after it first delighted audiences in Paris, the farce that inspired four films and an award-winning musical continues to shine a light on the ridiculousness of bigotry. I’m delighted to be directing this hilarious, heartfelt comedy; and to be bringing the original play to the stage for the first time ever in the English language.”
Michael Matus plays Georges. Recent credits include Grimaldi in The Astonishing Times of Timothy Cratchitt (Hope Mill Theatre), Edward/Stanley in Richard III (UK Tour), Oswald in King Lear (The Duke of York’s Theatre), Phillip Gellburg in Broken Glass (Watford Palace), Uncle Henry in Wizard of Oz (Crucible Theatre), Dionysus in Sondheim’s The Frogs (Jermyn St. Theatre), M. Firmin in Phantom of the Opera (Her Majesty’s Theatre) and Fernando in Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (Playhouse Theatre). Michael was the first face of Endeavour for ITV, and has been a guest lead in the BBC’s Shakespeare and Hathaway, This is Dom Joly, EastEnders, A Prince Among Men and The Split.
Paul Hunter plays Albin. Paul is co-founder and Artistic Director of Told By An Idiot. His theatre credits include: Wise Children (Old Vic/Kneehigh), Life of Galileo (Young Vic), The Little Match Girl; The Mystery Plays; Much Ado About Nothing; Troilus and Cressida; A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Under the Black Flag (Shakespeare’s Globe), Gaslight (Northampton), Tartuffe (Birmingham Rep), The Fantasticks (Duchess Theatre, West End), Napoleon Disrobed; The Farenheit Twins; Don’t Laugh – It’s My Life; You Haven’t Embraced Me Yet; I’m So Big; On The Verge of Exploding (Told By An Idiot Tour), Nocturnal (The Gate Theatre) and Rapunzel; The Red Shoes (Kneehigh). His film and television credits include Bridgerton (Netflix), Quiz (ITV), Still Open All Hours (BBC), Denial (Krasnoff / Foster Entertainment / Sunray Films), This Beautiful Fantastic (Ipso Facto Productions), Pan (Warner Brothers), Marvellous (Tiger Aspect / Fifty Fathoms / BBC), Cinderella (Walt Disney) and Maleficent (Walt Disney).
Sarah Lam plays Simone. Her theatre credits include: Richard II (Shakespeare’s Globe), Snow in Midsummer and Poppy (RSC), Chimerica (Almeida Theatre and West End), The World of Extreme Happiness, The Magic Olympical Games and Lost Worlds (National Theatre) and The Golden Hours, Top Girls, Cries from the Mammal House and Sergeant Ola and His Followers (Royal Court). TV includes Sherlock (BBC), Two Thousand Acres of Sky (BBC) and Brookside (Channel 4).
Syrus Lowe plays Jacob. Recent theatre credits include: The Crucible (Yard Theatre), The Inheritance (Young Vic / Noel Coward Theatre), Saint Joan (Donmar Warehouse) and Henry V (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre). Syrus is also known for playing the role of Vince in Holby City (BBC).
Peter Straker plays Tabaro. He first shot to fame in 1968 when he starred as Hud in the London Production of the seminal musical Hair (Shaftesbury Theatre). He went on to appear in Tommy (Shaftesbury Theatre). The Rocky Horror Show, Blues in the Night (Donmar Warehouse) and the original Phantom of the Opera (Her Majesty’s Theatre). He has released solo albums and recordings with Freddie Mercury, as well as starring in critically acclaimed one man shows and concert appearances. Most recently he starred in Peter Straker’s Brel which enjoyed sold out performances in London. In September Straker released a new album.
Mark Cameron (Marseilles / Zorba) started his career as a stand-up comedian before becoming an actor. Theatre credits includes five productions at Park Theatre including co-writing and co-directing Whodunnit [Unrehearsed] in 2019 as well as acting in Hurling Rubble at The Moon, Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty and Park Theatre Review. Other credits include: Mathematics of the Heart (Theatre 503) and The Game of Love and Chance (National Tour). Television credits include regular characters in Tina and Bobby (ITV), Coronation Street (ITV), Steel River Blues (ITV), EastEnders (BBC), Emmerdale (ITV) and Doctors (BBC).
Arthur Hughes plays Laurent. Theatre credits include: Bedazzled: A Welshman in Scotland (Welsh Tour/St. Andrews Byre Theatre), Alix in Wundergarten (The Other Room), Romeo & Juliet (Taking Flight Theatre), Saint Joan (Donmar Warehouse), The Solid Life of Sugar Water (Graeae/NT), Julius Caesar, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest (Sheffield Crucible), Our Town (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre) and Vassa (Almeida).
Simon Hepworth’s (Monsieur Priedieu / Mercédès) recent theatre credits include: Mother Of Him (Park Theatre), Absolute Hell (National Theatre), Antony & Cleopatra (Chichester Festival Theatre), The Lion in Winter (Theatre Royal Haymarket) and The Best Man, Blood Brothers and The Hollow (BKL UK tours). Television credits include: EastEnders (BBC), Coronation Street (ITV) and Casualty (BBC).
Louise Bangay plays Madame Priedieu. She recently appeared as Q (the Queen) in Handbagged (New Vic, Stoke). Other credits include: Cyrano de Bergerac (Chichester), Rock ‘n’ Roll (Royal Court & Duke of York’s Theatre); Poor Beck (Other Place & Soho Theatre), Macbeth and King Lear (RST & Alberty), One of Those (Tristan Bates), Mouth to Mouth (Royal Court/Alberty), Ben Hur (BAC), Horace, Katerina and The Cenci (Lyric Theatre) and Miss Julie (Young Vic).
Georgina Ambrey plays Muriel. Georgina is a recent graduate of Drama Centre London and made her professional debut at Theatre By The Lake, Keswick, playing Rosie in My Mother Said I Never Should and LV in The Rise and Fall of Little Voice.
William Nelson plays Frances. Theatre credits include: Speech and Debate (Trafalgar Studios), Love Me Now (Tristan Bates Theatre), The Tap Pack (Peacock Theatre), Dinner (Sydney Theatre Company), 2016 New South Wales Schools Spectacular (NSW Arts Unit) and A Crow Short of a Murder (Sydney Fringe Festival).
La Cage aux Folles [The Play]
Venue: Park200, Park Theatre, Clifton Terrace, Finsbury Park, N4 3JP
Dates: 12 Feb – 21 Mar 2020
Press night: Wed 19 Feb, 19.00
Age guidance: 16+
Performances: Mon – Sat Evenings 7.30pm, Thu & Sat Matinees 3.00pm
Access Performances: Parents & Babies Thu 27 Feb 13.00, Audio Described Wed 18 Mar 19.30, Touch Tour 18.00, Captioned Performance Tue 10 Mar 19.30