Writer & Performer: Le Gateau Chocolat
Reviewer: Sonny Waheed
The Public Reviews Rating:
There are many things one could expect when one reads ‘Le Gateaux Chocolat at the Menier Chocolate Factory’. The one thing I didn’t expect was what I got. Le Gateau Chocolat is actually a London-born, Nigerian-raised, trained lawyer who also happens to be a lycra loving, opera singing, overweight, bearded, drag queen.
Now with that nugget of information, my mind raced as to what this show could be; An act from the La Cage Aux Folles? Or even Lilly Savage with songs? No. It was more ‘Torch Song Trilogy’ done cabaret style. The show is an abridged whirlwind through Le Gateau’s life interspersed with appropriate songs to drive home his emotional state at that particular time.
The premise is good, as is his performance. His voice is strong and solid, and he has a very winning rapport when talking with the audience: a cheeky smile, a twinkle in his eye and a larger than himself personality.
His life, it becomes clearly apparent, hasn’t been the happiest and so there’s a heavy sense of melancholy throughout. He accentuates with a predominantly ballad-driven soundtrack of show-tunes and reworked modern classics (Radiohead’s Creep, Sinead O’Connor’s Nothing Compares 2 U) powerfully delivered in his operatic baritone.
Every now and then he breaks into a more traditional drag act – teasing the audience, camping it up, throwing out some audacious remarks – but the main thrust is a very introspective melancholic look at his life.
The result is a highly enjoyable if patchy affair. There’s not enough detail on his life and life choices, so you come away having being entertained but not really know much about him. He delivers both his monologue and songs with great passion, but the song choices, in the main, were just too depressing. For the few times he lifts the tempo up and gets into traditional drag mode he really shines.
This is a show well worth seeing, but one is left with a very strong feeling that he’s nowhere near his best yet.