The Garden Of Unearthly Delights’ Deluxe, Tue Feb 17
In the words of the person sitting next to me, Le Gateau Chocolat’s entrance from behind the audience was “so overwhelming – like a religious experience!” As this beautiful man slowly glided to the stage singing Running Up That Hill by Kate Bush, it was but the first moment in many that would take your breath away during Icons.
A baritone opera singer of the most euphonic kind, Le Gateau makes whatever pop song he sings all of his own. These are the songs and the iconic artists that have grown with him through the years. Yet, as he shared the memories, highs and lows and the pain of loss with open-hearted stories of his life, it was hard to not laugh out loud or cry at every syllable that he uttered.
Icons is an open book of Le Gateau’s life, from singing into a hairbrush his bedroom (and who hasn’t?), playing dress-ups with his sister, being confused about his sexuality as a young boy, his first love, his happiest memories and his deepest broken heart. There was a song for each of these emotions, recognisable tunes from my own youth and that of many of the audience.
Director Tommy Bradson, a cabaret performer, writer and provocateur in his own right, has helped unearth what we already knew to be Le Gateau’s true inner self, be it the touching rendition of Always On My Mind or the absolute gorgeous silliness of Meatloaf’s Anything For Love as he stood in front of a fan, his large blond wig he had put for the occasion blowing in the breeze – aided by musical director and guitarist Marty Hailey as he, too, donned a blond wig and sang the ‘girl parts’. Shannon Graham helped fuel the musical sound on keyboards and vocals. Xanadu was a love-letter from him to us, and one that we gladly sang and sent in return.
There is a reason why I get goose bumps (even in a heatwave!) every time I recommend his show to Fringe goers. The man oozes honesty and integrity in his words, his actions and his songs. As a friend once told Le Gateau, “Drag is about putting on a mask to reveal the truth!” And the truth is this: no matter how you look on the outside or what you hide on the inside, you are who you are, and Le Gateau Chocolat is truly one of the most beautiful people I have ever met!
Le Gateau Chocolat performs ICONS at The Garden Of Unearthly Delights’ Deluxe until Sun Mar 15.
Book at FringeTIX on 1300 621 255 or adelaidefringe.com.au/fringetix. Click HERE to purchase your tickets.
Image courtesy of Eli Schmidt