Wakatipu talents Nicole McLean and David Oakley try on
costumes for size during rehearsals for La Cage Aux Folles.
Photo by David Oakley.
Two stars of Chicago say they love the challenge of
playing completely opposite characters in the follow-up Showbiz
Queenstown musical, La Cage Aux Folles
, now being
Arrowtown actress Nicole McLean swaps Prohibition-era
vaudeville murderess Velma for Marie Dindon, the ''very
conservative, very prudish'' wife of Edouard and mother of
Anne in the French farce.
Queenstown actor David Oakley trades in the doormat husband
Amos, ''Mr Cellophane'' himself, to become Edouard Dindon,
Marie's ''bullish'' husband and Anne's ultra-conservative
father, a leader of the ''Tradition, Family and Morality
Party'' in the musical, which inspired the French movie
adaptation and the Hollywood hit The Birdcage.
The moralistic Dindons' daughter Anne is engaged to young
Jean-Michel, but unbeknown to the haughty couple, Jean-Michel
is the son of Georges, the owner of a drag nightclub in
Saint-Tropez, and his long-time lover Albin, who moonlights
as the glamorous Zaza.
Madcap pandemonium ensues when the Dindons come calling to
meet their new ''normal'' in-laws and the bonds of family are
tested to the limit in a jubilant show, which has earned 11
Mrs McLean said Marie is ''quite naive and not picking up the
clues'' about the real lifestyle of Georges and Albin.
''She has a bit of Velma inside her, dying to get out, but
she's been kept under the thumb,'' she said.
''Velma is so strong and does exactly what she wants, but
Marie is in the shadow of Edouard.''
Mr Oakley said it was fun to play a different character, to
see what could be done.
While again the villain of the piece, the 36-year-old
Englishman plays a 50-something Frenchman and a father for
the first time, made even more unusual when his ''daughter''
is a friend and 20 years old.
While his own parents were not as strict with him growing up
as Edouard is with Anne, Mr Oakley said he might be
subliminally channelling his grandfather.
''I remember his sternness very well and how he could stop
you with a look,'' he said.
Both entertainers agree La Cage Aux Folles will
delight audiences over its seven consecutive nights, with its
cheeky humour, moments of poignancy, fabulous costumes and
energetic song and dance routines.
''It's a funny story with a message of love, important in
this day and age,'' Mr Oakley said.