Charismatic performer back in town

CHARLIE GATES
Last updated 07:58 17/01/2014
Le Gateau Chocolat
Dean Kozanic/Fairfax NZ
BIG VOICE: Le Gateau Chocolat offered a perfectly paced slice of good, old-fashioned cabaret.

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Anyone for another slice of Gateau?

The charismatic diva with the large wardrobe and the even bigger voice is back.

Le Gateau Chocolat wowed and moved crowds at the World Buskers Festival last year and has returned with a new show.

While last year's show felt more personal and poignant, this one is all about big tunes and fun - taking in everything from opera to South Park and a long overdue takedown of Les Miserables to Madonna.

Between songs, the Nigerian-born, London-based baritone glides through costumes, rifling through his dress-up box to find new wigs, glittery dresses and even a dalmatian onesie.

It's a perfectly paced slice of good, old-fashioned cabaret with a host that has charisma to burn.

But beneath the silliness and costumes, Gateau's incredibly powerful voice is the anchor that stops the show floating away into whimsy.

His performance of Nick Cave's The Ship Song is a showstopper that is worth the admission price alone.

It is good to see Le Gateau Chocolat return to Christchurch, but I miss the fragile and honest moments that gave last year's show a surprising emotional heft.

This show is fun and entertaining, but it is missing that personal dimension that made his first appearance in Christchurch so special.

He is such an interesting performer and has such charisma that it was fascinating to hear him tell stories from his life.

Those personal touches are missing from this show, with Le Gateau Chocolat in full party mode and an impeccable live band of pianist, bass player and drummer to support him.

My only quibble would be that Gateau's fantastic voice was sometimes lost in the sound mix. I couldn't work out if it was the acoustics at the Christ's College auditorium or the levels. Either way, I'm sure this is a small technical hiccup that will be easily ironed out by the weekend.

It certainly did not spoil the talent on display when Gateau took to the stage and let rip with that magnificent voice.

No party is complete without a big slice of chocolate cake.

Le Gateau Chocolat - I Heart Chocolat (R16)

The Press Club in the auditorium at Christ's College. 9.15 every night. Reviewed by Charlie Gates.

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