“Welcome to Anhedonia, where emotions are forbidden and hearts are locked in cages.”
Cages, a rock musical with state-of-the-art technology, premiered in Los Angeles in 2021. Back in September, it had its European Premiere in London’s Off West End. Whilst it was set to run until January 1, it will now close a little earlier, on December 18 – so get yourself a ticket whilst it’s still caged at Riverside!
Cages played to sell-out audiences in LA, and it received rave reviews from critics. The London run has been more polarising, with audiences falling in love but critics being, well, critics.
The show recently poked fun at the mixed reception, telling social media followers, “The show that divided opinion must end 18 December.”
Cages is an intimate and mysterious gothic romance that has left audiences in awe. This stunningly realised and utterly unique live experience presents a mind-bending, technologically innovative visual spectacle, the like of which is rarely seen in the West End, let alone the Off West End!
Masterfully weaving state-of-the-art 3D video and animation with live performance and original songs that pulse with an addictive pop energy, Cages pulls out all the stops to conjure a rock opera for the modern age.
Whilst the main character is played by a live actor, the leading lady is a hologram – a creative decision that one can appreciate as bold and inventive, even if they do not take to it.
The musical follows Woolf (Jack Butterworth), a lone soul living in the shadows until he meets the dazzlingly peculiar Madeline. Can their newly minted love survive the dystopian world of control they inhabit? Long buried stories come to the surface, as dreams and reality intersect, and all Woolf holds dear is threatened.
Cages touches upon all of the senses during a unique two-hour performance that will alter your perception of what’s possible on a theatrical stage through ground-breaking technology, an all-consuming sphere of sound, and state-of-the-art visuals.
All music and lyrics for the show are composed, produced, and arranged by creators CJ Baran and Benjamin Romans. CJ Baran played Woolf for the first month; he has since been played by Jack Butterworth.
About the show, CJ Baran says, “After nearly 7 years of development, 150 performances in LA and a pandemic we never thought we’d bounce back from, we are thrilled to take Cages to London and eternally grateful to the Scenario Two team for believing in us. Cages is a story for anyone who feels isolated and emotionally suppressed and we hope if you take anything away from the experience, it’s that you have felt the full spectrum of emotions.”
Ben Romans adds, “The story of Cages was conceived long before the world seemingly turned upside down, but it is a necessary tale for humanity, expressionism, art, emotion, and love in the present and future. Blood, sweat, tears, and insuppressible yet sometimes charred hearts were at the core of the years spent writing, creating, building, living, breathing, and giving birth to this world of Anhedonia. We are beyond thrilled to take the show to London, and are ecstatic and thankful for the Scenario Two team for their focus and belief in this vision.”
Producers and Co-directors, Scenario Two’s Anthony Lilley and John Berry comment, “When we first saw Cages – even on a shaky video taken in Los Angeles in the final days before lockdown in 2020 – we were pretty sure it was something special.
“The pandemic meant that it took almost a year and a half before we were able to travel to the US to see it in person and then we were in absolutely no doubt. It blew us away. This was an amazing live show, like nothing we had ever seen or heard. Full of heart and soul, beautiful music, and state-of-the-art technology, spectacularly done.
“And so, as soon as we possibly could, we have brought it to London to introduce UK audiences to Woolf and the Wondershow’s ground-breaking combination of live performance, cinematic effects, holographic and immersive sound. We couldn’t be more excited.”
Woolf and The Wondershow comment, “Cages is a musical for a new generation of theatregoers. We aimed to make a musical that sounded like the music we listen to with a story that would hit people in ways they wouldn’t expect. This show should challenge audiences to look inward and open up, especially in such trying times. We also wanted to disrupt the medium visually by using technology that allows for live CGI on stage, blurring the lines between film and theatre as we believe the future of the stage is mixed medium. We call it Future Theatre.”
Cages began its run at Waterside on September 13; it runs until December 18.