fringe: a night at the musicals

adelaide fringe: a night at the musicals
My favourite chocolate diva, Le Gateau Chocolat is back this year with not one but two shows, A Night At The Musicals and Duckie, and for the former he's brought along fellow UK drag artiste Jonny Woo.

And together they bring songs from the musical genre to the sacrificial alter and perform what can only be called a "drag-ectomy", injecting wonderful camp and drag sensibility into songs that you probably didn't even know you knew all the words to (seriously, I sang along to more of the songs than I expected to, and knew the words to almost everything bar the Les Mis stuff).

Nothing is safe, from Les Miserables to Beauty and the Beast, Chess to Grease, Cabaret to Frozen. And while I was never that big a fan of Frozen and am kind of over the signature song, my new favourite way to listen to Let It Go is to have an operatic Nigerian drag queen perform it with the aid of sequins, a fan and some silly string.

Le Gateau and Woo have great chemistry together and I'm guessing they've known each other for a while, or if not, they make you feel like they do. And they also clearly come from the same school of drag. This isn't high drag, this isn't a perfect female illusion, this is the kind of drag that Le Gateau (and I'm guessing Woo) specialise in... genderfuck drag. Lots of bathing suits, sequins, quick changes, beards and chest hair, outfits doing double duty and a lot of wigs.

I also love that they didn't try to disguise the fact that the links between the songs sections were, as they put it, tenuous. But they were also often hilarious, especially when you realised how tenuous some of the links really are (from apples to Grease anyone?). Actually I think this is perhaps Le Gateau's most high comedy show since the eponymous show I saw back in 2011. But again I think that's partly because of the energy between him and Woo.

As always Le Gateau's voice really is outstanding... and yes, I will admit, even after four encounters, that mellifluous voice still has the ability to send a shiver right down my spine when Chocolat gets way, way, way down deep. Woo does hold his own though, and they harmonise beautifully.

And Woo's fairly insane lipsync to the aforementioned Les Mis is a thing to see... not a pretty thing in the slightest, but one hell of an experience.

I was a little disappointed by the fact that the front of house staff announced there was to be no photography during the show. Recording I completely understand, and no flash photography likewise (we don't want to startle the artistes or annoy other patrons), but I do enjoy taking a couple of sneaky pics of Le Gateau during his performances.

But that wasn't anywhere near enough to dull what was a fantastic Chocolat/Woo extravaganza.

Oh and when you go along, make sure you suggest Rocky Horror during the "musical jukebox" section... Le Gateau will hate you for it, but his version is definitely something to experience.

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