Monday 18 January saw presenter and comedian Graham Norton take his first tottering steps onto the West End stage as the loud and proud drag queen Albin in the hit transfer of the Menier Chocolate Factory’s La Cage Aux Folles at the Playhouse Theatre.
Although Norton trained as an actor at the Central School of Speech and Drama, he is not known for his acting talents in a thespian career that has included some short films, 2006 flop Another Gay Movie and three episodes of Father Ted. Also, he admits in his autobiography So Me that he can’t carry a tune. It is no wonder that after persistent rumours, the announcement that Norton was to replace the critically celebrated Douglas Hodge as Albin, the West End’s gossips were thrown into a confused panic.
However, despite a shaky start on Monday night, Norton reportedly did a sterling job. When he first appeared on stage, he was visibly shaking and his nervousness affected his voice, causing him to trip on a few high notes. However, as he settled into the role, his overall performance had vastly improved by the interval, bringing the house down on the end of act one with an emotional tour de force rendition of I Am What I Am. Clearly, his intensive coaching is doing wonders, and once his nerves settle, Graham Norton could be a West End star.
Published: 23/01/2009 16:00:29