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Dunstan Playhouse, Thu 22 Jun.
Nigerian-born Le Gateau Chocolat has been a favourite at the Adelaide Fringe for some years. For this year’s Cabaret Festival he presents Black – a depiction of a life punctuated with the struggles associated with being black, overweight, gay and depressed. That can’t be an easy burden to overcome, nor an easy story to tell, and he attempts to lighten the tale with some childlike animated narration, and the occasional joke.
He has a magnificent voice – deep, rich and resonant. His dream was always to be an opera singer and his voice helped him escape from a life of drudgery. As fine a singer as he is, the vocal arrangements in Black tended towards a sameness and felt at times like he was playing with technique rather than just belting out a good solid melody. With a couple of exceptions the songs felt convoluted and lacked an edge to set them apart from each other.
Save for one short scene the entire show was delivered in dim light. While this might be an effective device to portray the darkness of depression, it didn’t add to the enjoyment of the spectacle. But perhaps we were not meant to enjoy it. Perhaps the intention was more to give the audience a taste of the distance and disconnection arising from depression. If so, in that it succeeded.
An intriguing introspective performance, but it needed something extra to unify the whole production and deliver a killer punch.
Le Gateau Chocolat performs Black at Dunstan Playhouse, Adelaide Festival Centre, from 9.30pm until Fri 23 Jun.
Book at BASS on 131 246 and bass.net.au. Click HERE to purchase your tickets.