Icons, a Sydney Festival show by Le Gateau Chocolat was greatly enjoyed.
In Icons, you enter into the bedroom of Le Gateau Chocolat during the 80s, when he was a teen. On the walls are posters of all of the stars of the era: The Goonies, Star Wars, David Bowie, Madonna, Janet Jackson, Michael Jackson, George Michael, etcetera.
Le Gateau Chocolat enters the Magic Mirrors Spiegeltent by walking through the crowd. He must be at least 6 ft tall. Dressed in lycra, he is powerful, fabulous and fierce.
Le Gateau Chocolat wears predominantly lycra and sequins. At times he was also a little bit “Desperately Seeking Susan”, which isn’t at all surprising given he is a massive Madonna fan. In fact, early on in the show, he sings a Madonna megamix, dancing all the while. The audience was enchanted.
In fact, the whole show is, in some ways, a megamix with many costume changes and stories told. The most of these stories are humourous but among them are poignant moments, which reminds us that Le Gateau Chocolat has a serious side, and one which is sometimes vulnerable and soft. That is not to mention the dose of bitchiness which is unexpected and hilarious.
But coming back to his singing, and therefore his voice: such a powerhouse! We were blown away. Operatic, strong, and one that commands your attention. This voice brings humour to the show between the sometimes serious stories.
One story that Le Gateau Chocolat tells us is about when his friend was invited to the wedding of a boy that he had kissed and fell in love with when he was 14. He starts the story sat on the floor, leaning back onto his bed, all the while singing a sad song. Then suddenly, he switches on the bitchiness, and explains that he wants to make the story more interesting. He tells us what he would do if he had been invited to the wedding. Firstly, he would sit on the bride’s side during the ceremony and he would interrupt by singing Yvonne Fair’s ““It Should Have Been Me”. Deliciously cheeky.
The AUSLAN interpreter who was at the show the night we attended also deserves his own mention. He could very well be star of his very own show! He was flamboyant and hilarious with his over-exaggerated expressions. His translations created a show within the show.
Le Gateau Chocolat and the interpreter played their roles perfectly. Even more so, given the noise from roadworks which was distracting not only for the audience, but no doubt for the artists themselves. Sydney Council should have co-ordinated with Sydney Festival so that this didn’t occur.
We thought that Xanadu was the finale number of the show, but we were wrong. Xanadu was definitely a high point of the show, Icons. Le Gateau Chocolat disappears into the crowd, all the while playfully interacting with unsuspecting individuals in the audience. He discusses many of his icons, paying particular homage to the brilliant talents lost in 2016, namely David Bowie and George Michael. He also mentions that Aretha Franklin’s funeral was the same day as Madonna’s 60th and that Madonna will never die! This was heartwarming and humourous.
The last song of the show is Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You”. The audience joins Le Gateau Chocolat in a singalong. He reappears in the crowd wearing a fabulous, flamboyant costume. Then he disappears again, which signals that the show is over. Instead, he’s to be found outside being swarmed by adoring fans wanting selfies and those expressing their gratitude for a poignant, cheeky, decadent and delightful show.
Matilda Marseillaise was a guest of Sydney Festival