Le Gateau Chocolat: Black – review
Theatre Royal Stratford East

Words by: Adelaide Obeng | Published: Friday, April 7, 2017 12:04
Le Gateau Chocolat , Theatre Royal Stratford East (c) Mark Vessey Le Gateau Chocolat , Theatre Royal Stratford East (c) Mark Vessey

The simplicity of the piece is striking and brave and gives the piece a seemingly effortless feel. 


 Le Gateau Chocolat cuts straight to core with his piece Black. The show explores being different. For Le Gateau this is being black, gay, overweight and depressed. However at the core of the piece is humanity and how universal that it. We are all born essentially the same in that we all hope, dream, have talents, emotions, preferences and thoughts.  But what can happen to a child’s sense of self when their dreams are not considered to be appropriate? What is the long term impact of learning that one’s physical looks are not considered to be beautiful, normal or ideal? How do we personally deal with and understand the word ugly? What if you are made to feel different and wrong? How does one deal with the pressures to hide who and what one is?  What is abuse?


This piece is a challenge to social norms and a warning of how influential and vulnerable children can be. It is sensitive, and should be viewed as such. This is not a meaningless, hoot and a holla, showy show.


This 60 minute piece goes by gently, in the half-light Le Gateau is open with the audience, he is simple with us and talks candidly, directly to us. The simplicity of the piece is striking and brave and gives the piece a seemingly effortless feel. 

 
Le Gateau Chocolat , Theatre Royal Stratford East (c) Mark Vessey Le Gateau Chocolat , Theatre Royal Stratford East (c) Robbins Photographic

See listing for Le Gateau Chocolat: Black


This show is honest. We are who we are. Multifaceted, full of contradictions and ideas. Yes, le Gateau appears in the show wearing full fluttering eyelashes, a beautifully structured wig and has a deep vocal range, but he is not simply a performer.  Yes, we are invited to enjoy and respond perhaps in a lighter way to the telling of being an overqualified NHS Direct worker and feeling awkwardly on show in certain situations due to his physical size, but these are not arbitrary moments of light relief and comedy. They are the markings of a true account of the complexity and dynamism of life, a true show of his whole self and personality, which are to be viewed and understood within the context of the whole piece.   


Le Gateau Chocolat cleanly blends the impressive 24 piece live orchestra, with pre-recorded interviews and cartoon animation with classical and modern Song.


Le Gateau Chocolat cleanly blends the impressive 24 piece live orchestra, with pre-recorded interviews and cartoon animation with classical and modern Song.


It would be wrong not to mention Le Gateau Chocolat’s voice, a soaring baritone, the soundscape of the piece as a whole being one to close your eyes and dream to.


When Le Gateau Chocolat finally exits the stage he left confidently, leaving the gift of himself behind.

 

Le Gateau Chocolat , Theatre Royal Stratford East (c) Mark Vessey Le Gateau Chocolat , Theatre Royal Stratford East (c) Robbins Photographic

Info: Le Gateau Chocolat: Black is at Theatre Royal Stratford East until Saturday 8 April 2017 / book tickets / see listing / read interview with Le Gateau Chocolat




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