Review: Le Gateau Chocolat @ Fringe

Words by: Freya Hall

Midway through the show, Le Gateau Chocolat dedicated a song to a close friend who had recently committed suicide. Le Gateau spoke of the influence this friend had on him and how this friend had taught him that drag could be different: it could be human and vulnerable. This dedication was a very poignant moment as Le Gateau was also describing his own act perfectly.

In fact, the entire show is pierced with delicate moments of self-awareness; although the show is called ‘Icons’ it truly is Le Gateau’s story. Le Gateau uses iconic songs and iconic artists as a prop to lead the audience through a retelling of his life. Tina Turner, Kate Bush, and Whitney Houston were some of the icons that made an appearance in the form of costume, song, or spirit.

Le Gateau is a mesmerising storyteller; one moment he will be speaking softly with twangs of nostalgia in his voice, and a cheeky grin on his face, recalling times spent dancing with his niece to Beauty and the Beast, or when he kissed a childhood friend at age 14…and the next speaking with unguarded frankness about his heartbreak when he learned that this same childhood friend, a man he had thought about from time to time since, was about to get married.

Le Gateau moved fluidly from these tender moments into pop ballads with meticulous precision, including, not surprisingly, his powerful rendition of It Should Have Been Me – closest in soul to the Yvonne Fair version.

I was mesmerised by the seemingly effortless power and grace of his voice when he sang. To be honest, my words cannot do justice to his voice: it is almost indescribable in the most wonderful way. All I can do is tease you with the fact that he is classically trained in opera and has performed for the Queen of England.

This is not a show that should be missed. If you like sequins and talent (and who doesn’t?) then you should beg, steal, or borrow to ensure yourself a seat in Le Gateau’s audience. Icons will be showing from Sunday 24 to Sunday 31 January 2016 at the De Parel Spiegeltent in the Perth Cultural Centre.