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Le Gateau Chocolat

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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Glittery dresses on hangers, a cornucopia of costumes, flowers on the perfume and lipstick-strewn dresser: welcome to Le Gateau Chocolat's dressing room.

Given the “drag cabaret” label, that's a bit like including the disclaimer "warning, contains nuts" on a packet of cashews. Perhaps it's to weed out less open-minded audience members, as the show is oh so much more than that.

For the fabulous Nigerian-born singer with a law degree, "why not?" has always been more fun a question to ask than “why?” By the close of this fringe-fest-friendly show (running time of one hour fifteen), you'll probably agree.

Owing no small debt to cabaret greats like Camille O'Sullivan, who can switch from fever pitch to hushed whisper, Le Gateau Chocolat jokes and smoulders his way through Barbra Streisand, Les Miserables and Into The Woods, with the help of a perfectly pitched - and incredibly game - onstage band.

Flashes of Graham Norton's charm and deadpan style season the fare between songs - and you can imagine this gorgeously fleshy man hosting his own chat show, entertaining yet intimate.

Chocolat has kept to the winning formula of O'Sullivan too, with an appealing honesty surrounding song choices, so you feel you're getting to know him. Where he thrives in his setlist, his O'Sullivan tribute (it's clear she's been a big inspiration) isn't quite as mesmerising as her "Come Sail Your Ships" - but then, we like him better as himself, anyway...

Apart from when he does Susan Boyle. Anyone who can send up the Britain's Got Talent star in a sequinned dress to such raucous glee is destined for greatness.

- by Vicky Ellis


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