Le Gateau Chocolat: Black

Reviewer's Rating

Black is an autobiographical account of the life of the legendary drag performer and opera singer Le Gateau Chocolat.

It’s presented in cabaret form: lip syncing sequences, mimes, and a collection of short animated films are interspersed between rich and sensuous renditions of an eclectic range of composers and musicians – from Richard Wagner to Whitney Houston. Le Gateau Chocolat is the sole performer, though accompanied by the excellent Psappha New Music Ensemble live onstage. Le Gateau is never anything less than fully engaging. A performer with natural grace and ease – not to mention a baritone that has the ability to mesmerise.

At the centre of Black is the story of its protagonist’s battle with prejudice and depression. The show candidly, if a little wryly, explores the anxieties and griefs that accompany growing up as an overweight, gay, black male. It takes us to the brink of its protagonist’s suicidal depression, whilst somehow never losing the charm and sense of serenity that Le Gateau Chocolat so magnificently embodies as a performer.

Black is a beautiful and important piece: full of tenderness, wit and effortless style whilst conveying a powerful message about the devastating effects of marginalisation.