Fans of Le Gateau Chocolat might be surprised by the talented artist’s latest show Black. The actor had his debut solo show at the Adelaide Fringe in 2011 and has since travelled worldwide working in opera, drag, and theatre. Le Gateau Chocolat does much more than just drag performances. Fans of Le Gateau Chocolat will know that his previous pieces have been comical, fun, and full of Sasha-Fierce-style attitude.
Black is very different to that.
The one-hour performance is an intensely personal insight into Le Gateau’s experiences as a gay black man with weight issues. He discusses bullying, homophobia, abuse, and suicide. The actor takes us through his childhood via a sweet and simple cartoon narration, which is interspersed with soulful ballads and raw personal reflections.
There are lighter parts in Black, including several ‘Tips for Fat’ and a particularly hilarious moment where our leading man takes his place in the spotlight. While Le Gateau’s other shows have had a good dose of honesty, Black takes this further and the play is deeply intimate and emotional. It does not have the high-energy and larger-than-life atmosphere that usually accompanies his performances.
As usual, Le Gateau’s deep baritone is mesmerising. There is no doubt that the man is talented, and his animated expressions are made all the more entertaining by his beard and those eyelashes. Moody lighting accompanies Le Gateau’s original and expressive songs to create several intensely moving moments.
Fans can expect an upfront, human, and sensitive piece. His signature humour is still present, but the piece shows Le Gateau’s artistic and emotional side. However, you won’t leave feeling depressed and gloomy because of the heavy content. The performance is somehow still warming despite the weighty themes. Overall, Le Gateau’s open honesty, difficult past, and frivolous humour combine to create an enjoyable and profound art piece.
Image: Mark Vessey