fringe: le gateau chocolat's icons
This is my fourth time (well, if I count La Soirée) seeing the wondrous diva that is Le Gateau Chocolat, and he has never looked better.
From the moment he struts on stage looking every inch the superstar with a hat to die for in this brand new show, Icons, he commands your attention.
And then he sings.
That wonderful, glorious voice... I've used all the possible words to describe it previously, but it's just a joy to be in the same room as... and when he hits those low, low, looooooooooow notes, I just shiver with pleasure as his warm and oh so deep voice goes though me like a rumble of mellifluous thunder.
Plus sitting in the front row and having him sing right in front of you is the most pleasurable thing.
This new show feels much more intimate than either Le Gateau Chocolat or I Heart Chocolat... this very much feels like a show that lets you into Chocolat's heart, and past. And those things from his past, musical, romantic and otherwise that made him the amazing performer he is today.
And there were more than a few moments that I could completely relate to both the song and the feeling or situation it represented. But none more so than his truly sublime rendition of For Good from Wicked (I had to ask him what it was after the show, because it was so amazing) which struck VERY close to home and brought me to tears.
As with any great performer though, Le Gateau knows how to take the audience on an emotional journey and that any moment of catharsis needs to balanced out by laughter... and he is able to provide that in spades... from an over the top rendition of Meatloaf's I Would Do Anything For Love complete with Beyonce/Diana Ross hair and a wind machine, to the moment when an overly enthusiastic gesture meant that the wig for the next number got hopelessly tangled in the guitar of the musical director, and Le Gateau had to perform the number holding the guitar and wig up to his head.
Then on the flip side of that, he turns Whitney Houston's How Will I Know into a wonderfully soulful ballad (not to mention the fact that he goes out into the audience and just stands, perfectly still, as this beautiful song spills out of him)... and when he turned his full operatic prowess to what I'm guessing was Vesti La Giubba from the opera Pagliacci... there can be no doubt of his amazing voice.
Unlike previous shows the costume changes are minimal additions right up until the final number... but it's totally worth it for the fantastic finale.
The show may be inspired by Le Gateau's Icons, but it proves that this glorious Chocolat diva is an icon himself. And as I've said after both of the other shows, that brief hour we get to spend with him is never, ever enough.