If drag is the art of painting on a mask only to reveal the person inside, Le Gateau Chocolat revealed herself in all of her glittering glory in the Adnams Spiegeltent last night. Icons at the Norfolk and Norwich Festival was an intimate celebration of the performers and songs that helped shaped Le Pain au Chocolat into the glorious Gateau she is today. It was a quick-witted performance, packed full of more political and pop culture reference that you could shake a bedazzled stick at. It’s one of those pieces that you have to go and see.
Credit – Eli-Schmidt
There were many things about Icons that blew me away, but the intimacy of the performance was right up there. We were welcomed into Le Gateau Chocolat’s childhood bedroom and given a glimpse into her formative years. Posters of Bowie, Grace Jones and Tina Turner were plastered all over the walls, there was 80’s style TV and a small bed. It all felt very personal and at times it felt like we were old friends. This combined with the on-stage costume changes created such an intimate atmosphere.
There was something so relatable about the whole piece too. We’ve all sang our hearts out into a hairbrush or sat on our bed playing out alternate scenarios in our heads. Le Gateau really bought these scenarios and inner feelings to life. Her rendition of Total Eclipse of the Heart, complete with a wind machine was as spectacular as her vocal range. Her performance of It Should Have Been Me at her ex’s hypothetical wedding had me in stitches. I’m sure it’s something we’ve all dreamed of doing. I dare say nobody would look quite as fabulous doing it as she did.
Tales from her past broke up these epic vocal performances, which created such a moving performance. But it was never too much so. Just as you felt your heartbreaking for her, she popped on a dazzling gown, or a headpiece that you could spot from outer space, and belted out a song that made you giggle or sing along. Her comedic timing and ability to take the mickey out of herself and cultural stereotypes was the perfect juxtaposition to the more serious moments.
Le Gateau Chocolat’s Icons at the Norfolk and Norwich Festival was a dazzling, unforgettable performance. The best pieces of art are the ones that have a lasting impact on the audience. There really is no better way of getting to know someone than through the songs that shaped their lives. I suppose you could call Icons that most ridiculously fabulous, live version of Desert Island Discs, imaginable. But even that wouldn’t do it justice. It really is one of those shows that you just have to go and see.
You can catch the final performance of Icons at The Norfolk and Norwich Festival on Saturday 19th May. The Festival runs until Sunday 27th May 2018.
All of my reviews of the Norfolk and Norwich festival can be found here.