La Cage Aux Folles isn’t just Adrian Zmed’s first time on the UK stage. It was pretty much his first time in the country.
The American actor, singer and television personality had only ever spent a day here before, and that was 11 years ago.
He’s thrilled he’s finally made the trip.
“I am having the time of my life with this show,” he says.
La Cage Aux Folles plays Theatre Royal Brighton on its first-ever UK tour from August 15-26. Written by Harvey Fierstein and Jerry Herman, and based on the 1973 French play of the same name by Jean Poiret, La Cage Aux Folles follows the story of Georges (Adrian), the manager of a Saint Tropez nightclub, and his partner, Albin (John Partridge), a drag artist 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 very different lifestyle…
“Georges has grown on me so much since we have been doing this,” Adrian says. “When they asked me to do it, I wasn’t really quite sure, but the role has evolved as the show has grown.
“I had a very strange rehearsal process with this particular show because John was doing Chicago when we were rehearsing, and we usually only had him for half a day, and then we would be doing blocking or choreographing it. We didn’t really get a chance to develop the characters or develop their relationship.
“But Harvey Fierstein said to me the important thing is that people actually believe in that relationship between Georges and Albin, and that’s what I worked on. I had never seen the show. Back in the 80s, I had left Broadway and gone to Hollywood. But I must say, getting to know the characters has been delightful.”
Just as delightful has been discovering Britain: “It has been wonderful to get to experience your wonderful British audiences. I am driving myself to every single city. It is so much easier for me to do that, rather than getting on a train, and I am loving it – loving to get to know the different personalities of the cities.”
The point is that no two are the same: “And that’s one of the most exciting things about going on tour with a show. The Southampton audience was not the same as the Bradford audience, and I get to be the barometer of that. I am the first one out there to talk to the audience. But not only have I got my terror of that, there is also the terror that I have never been to any of these cities before. I don’t know what a Southampton audience should be like, just as I don’t know what a Bradford audience should be like!
“But that’s what being an actor is about. You dip your toe in the water, and then if that’s OK you dip your foot in, and then if that’s OK, you put your whole leg in! People ask me if I prefer working in theatre or TV or film, and it is definitely theatre. There is nothing like it. It is a fantastic communion. You give something to the audience and they take it and they give back and so you give them some more. And then when we get the response at the end, it is just the most wonderful feeling!”
Tickets on www.atgtickets.com/brighton or 0844 871 7650.
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