FRINGE 2015 – Le Gateau Chocolat – Icons – Garden / Deluxe – 1.5K

By Peter Maddern

The allure and attraction of drag queen acts is long lasting and it seems equally shared by both men and women. Just what are the specifics of that allure have never been particularly obvious to me but no doubt they relate to the presentation of the knowingly flawed vision of perfection and the capacity to enchant, entertain and entice harmlessly. From Roman times through Shakespeare to Las Vegas and elsewhere today, the genre’s got legs.

I think it a stretch to describe Le Gateau as a drag queen act, I think a man in drag would be sufficient. Gracing the small Deluxe stage the tall Nigerian born, now English resident presented as a cross between Serena Williams and Orson Welles. If not confronting, then certainly Le Gateau was hard to embrace with spandex dress, false eyelashes that looked like feral caterpillars and a substantial beard.

But that was not the problem with the show – no sirree. Billed as an ‘opera and lyric-loving cabaret sensation’, the fundamental flaw was that the man can’t sing very well. While his grasp at the lower levels of the register is adequate, he has neither the voice nor the style to carry off even mid-range notes – trying to hang on any of them makes many of his audience want to reach for a rope as well. His second song, the Elvis Presley staple, Always on my Mind had me scrambling for my Fringe app to see whether this show was placed in the Cabaret or the Comedy sections. I would suggest a night of the greatest hits of Barry White, Robert Gourlet and Dennis Roussos was as much as his voice could handle.

But if that had people feeling uneasy, to cheer the punters up, we then had songs about boys who had left him, either topping themselves or going off with girls because they were straight. The patter that got us there beggared belief. The arrangements accompanying all these works were somewhat uninspired and the continual use of rear lighting an increasing annoyance.

It’s not often one should suggest a visit by an artist to the room of mirrors but for the sake of his audiences that are forking out a hard earned 35 (or more) to see him over the next three weeks Le Gateau could well do with a some lengthy spells there over the next few days.

Kryztoff Rating 1.5K

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