Le Gateau Chocolat has brought his background in drag to this kids show, which is a solo act loosely based on Hans Christian Andersen's The Ugly Duckling. We follow along a duckling called Duckie, as they find their voice, literally.
Duckie is a charming, uplifting performance, sprinkled with a I-am-what-I-am mantra.
In the animal circus, Duckie is struggling to find his place. He is not very good at quacking, or dancing. So he decides to try and find a friend who might help him understand what he is good at. We follow Duckie as he meets a number of animals, each of them affording the chance to slip in a great musical number. The show is glamorous and exciting for the younger audience members, and has plenty of asides and inside jokes for the older people in the room. I particularly loved the classic burlesque fan dance, done with two pieces of cardboard.
The music of the show has been drawn from classical with extracts of Swan Lake, to the classics of drag - my personal favourites being Flamin-girls Just Wanna Have Fun, to Disney, the latter being an unsurprising hit with the younger audience members.
Le Gateau Chocolat is a mesmerizing performer, with a wonderfully emotive singing style. My very tiny gripe with the production was at some points, due to the fabulous eyelashes Le Gateau Chocolat was wearing, we struggled to see his eyes - which was such a shame as he was working so hard up there. With this performance he is pushing the boundaries of what may be strictly considered cabaret or drag, and I am very grateful for it.
This version manages to sidestep the not-entirely-nuanced-original-materials message of 'be conventionally attractive and people will like you eventually'. Instead of a wild transformation of who they are, Duckie learns to see his differences as his strengths, not weaknesses. The message is not 'bend to society' but use tolerance and self acceptance instead.
If you are looking for an entertaining and spectacle of a show for you and the young people in your life, Duckie is a charming, uplifting performance, sprinkled with a I-am-what-I-am mantra that is drawing on many varied inspirations, elegantly and clearly.