Le Gateau Chocolate- Icons
I love me some drag. Something about drag queens just speaks to my soul. I don’t know whether it’s the glitter, the sass or the wholehearted embracing of being outside of the normal, but I just love it. I have eaten up season after season of Ru Paul’s Drag Race and the unbelievable beauty of these Queens.
However, a couple of weeks ago at Soho Theatre, I experienced a new kind of Drag. Something more raw and more real, yet still absolutely dripping in sequins and sass. And that my friends, was Le Gateau Chocolat.
I mean please. How utterly fabulous.
This Nigerian Born Babe (real name George Ikediash) is an absolute stalwart of the performance scene. With one of the most beautiful voices around (seriously, his voice is like a mug of melted Lindor truffles), he regularly performs in contemporary operas, has done a season with modern circus show La Clique, and most recently was seen in the National Theatre’s production of The Threepenny Opera. Oh yeah, he also has a degree in law, as you do.
Icons is his latest solo show, and celebrates all the musical stars that have influenced him over the years. Settling down in our seats in the wonderfully intimate space of Soho Downstairs (which, in my opinion, is one of best little cabaret spots in the city), we honestly didn’t quite know what to expect. Then all of a sudden, he appeared, purring Kate Bush’s Running Up That Hill through the audience, in colbalt sequins, peacock-blue eyeshadow and eyelashes longer than my forearm, all topped off with his trademark beard too.
Immediately commanding the audience who seems to hang on every note that dripped out of his throat, Le Gateau settled the show, sitting atop a narrow single bed in a recreation of his childhood bedroom. With posters of 80’s movies, and musical legends like David Bowie and Grace Jones cut and pasted around him, it became clear that this would be a veritable smorgasbord of musical delights.
What followed was a whirlwind tour through the most eclectic mix of music I’ve ever heard. From pop to opera via musical theatre, from Olivia Newton-John and Whitney, to Elvis and Pavarotti, each number was an unapologetic celebration of all the influences that has made Le Gateau who he is today. Interspersed with his beautiful baritone croonings, were stories and anecdotes, about long lost loves, heartbreak, grief and growing up in Nigeria. These truthful confessionals not only gave the show it’s depth and heart, but made him seem all at once, stoic and vulnerable.
Yet this show was not without it’s belly-laugh moments. A Meatloaf cover, complete with blond wig and wind machine had us crying tears of mirth, the Madonna medley was pure genius, and the sing-a-long cover of Xanadu left everyone wholly uplifted and grinning-well, who can resist a disco-classic of that caliber anyway tbh.
If you like your drag with a bit of heart, and a whole lot of talent, visit Le Gateau Chocolat’s website here.
We were guests of Soho Theatre, but all opinions and words my own! Photography Credit- Eli Schmidt