fringe: le gateau chocolat - i heart chocolat

le gateau chocolat's i heart chocolat
Watching the cocoa diva that is Le Gateau Chocolat on his return to the Adelaide Fringe with his new show, I Heart Chocolat, is like watching a thousand dancing points of light.

And that's even when he's not wearing an outfit made up of his signature sequins.

He's so dazzling to watch yet impossible to look away from and it's even more glorious to listen that rich, warm, deep honey filled voice. And given that this is my third year in a row seeing him perform, it never gets old.

The theme of the show is, unsurprisingly, chocolate, and it's like getting an assortment from your favourite chocolatier... some pieces are already your favourites, some you don't know you're going to enjoy until you do, and even the pieces that you might not like as much are still great because they're really good chocolate.

Like that aforementioned chocolatier, Le Gateau offers a literal box of chocolates to various members of the audience and then his song choices are inspired by those flavours.

In truth, I'm guessing that the chocolates don't actually influence the show and it's just a really nice way for Le Gateau to interact with the crowd... but even so it's a great way to do that (so long as the Chocolate Box Assistant can actually get the lid off the box).

Even the stage feels a little bit like either a chocolate box or one of those stands for a devilishly decadent chocolate cake... being both small (relatively speaking), round and raised way, way up so you couldn't see the people on the other side. I was also very happy that because we got to sit right next to one of the stairs up to the stage I was able to do the gentlemanly thing and offer Le Gateau my hand to help him descend the stairs in one of his big ruffly dresses.

And even though it was hotter than hot in the Paradiso Spiegeltent during the show (it was 5:15pm afterall), and even hotter than that for Le Gateau on stage under the lights in lyrca, sequins and a wig, he didn't disappoint. Although to be honest I wouldn't have cared if he's stripped down to just his lycra bodysuit and performed the show sans wig.

As always his warm, rich, earthy chocolate voice was divine, on everything from Nothing Compares 2U (which I think we were singing to him just as much as he was singing it to us and to Adelaide) to my personal favourite, The Ship Song (originally by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds), which is so haunting and emotive and beautiful. I'm sure he did The Ship Song in his first solo show too but the staging of it this time, with Le Gateau standing completely still in the centre of that circular stage in a sequinned, hooded gown and just completely and absolutely singing the living daylights out of the song!

On the opposite side of the coin, Le Gateau also has brilliant comic timing... not just with his five minute interpretation of Les Misérables which was hilarious and his slightly nutty interpretation of the Zutons song (covered not long ago by Mark Ronson and Amy Winehouse), Valerie, but also in all of his interactions with the audience.

And trust me, if you've never heard a big Nigerian cross-dressing operatic baritone stand in front of you in a big ruffled gown and invite you, in song, to "suck on my chocolate salty balls" (from the South Park song of the same name), then you've never really lived!

I've said it before, and I'll say it again, one hour long serving of Le Gateau Chocolat is never enough and I'm always hungry for more! Now if we could just get him to come out to perform in the Cabaret Festival too, that would be awesome.

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