Le Gateau Chocolat recently starred in Twelfth Night, Emma Rice’s final production at Shakespeares Globe. His previous stage work includes appearances in Rufus Norris and Simon Stephen’s Threepenny Opera (National Theatre) and Tim Sheader’s Porgy and Bess (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre) as well as a series of solo cabaret shows across the world.
His next show is Le Gateau Chocolat: Icons, which runs at Soho Theatre from 31 October to 4 November.
We caught up with Le Gateau Chocolat and asked him: “If you were stranded on a desert island which five showtunes could you not live without?”
LGC: This is akin to Sophie’s Choice, EVIL. I can’t and won’t do it. Five, you say? Alright. God, you’re so pushy. These are just off the top of my head because there are too many.
1. “Old Man River” from Show Boat
For obvious reasons. It’s a bass’ dream to sing. I’m a bass ergo… There’s far more to it than that. It is steeped in so much pain and history. The constant dichotomy of living in a desolate and devastating situation but having the strength to find hope is somehow penned into Kern’s composition. It’s not just about luxuriating at the bottom, it’s using those notes to capture the depths of despair. Also, our current political landscape, in America especially where racism has been inducted as political capital, its resonance in 2017 is painfully potent.
2. “What I Did For Love” from A Chorus Line
This song is beautiful, sure. However, what crystallises it as one of my favourites is one of my idols’ rendition of it, Leontyne Price. The regality of her voice is captured even though here she is in the twilight of her career. She’s scooping all over the place but the story is hers. And just when it couldn’t get any better, she punctuates her majesty with a glorious last note complete with glottal. I LOVE IT.
3. “Make Our Garden Grow” from Candide
Again, not so much about the song as it is about this particular rendition of it. Another of my idols, Barbra Streisand. This was never released because she’s Simply Barbra and can book a whole orchestra, conduct them as only she could and then decide not to release. Plus she holds that note at the end for 3257 years. So stagey.
The truth is though, there’s so much hope in this song. It postulates that failing is part of our evolution. We must be defeated by trials but instead, learn from them. The liberating concept that in spite of prescription, societal or otherwise, there’s no definitive. The journey, the humanity, the joy is in the trying.
4. All of Porgy and Bess
I’ve just realised that all my selections sit in the operatic oeuvre. This is an absolute favourite because not only, after discovering, did I feel that this was part of my heritage to perform but I got to do so in spectacular fashion at Regent’s Park. It wasn’t just special because the show went on to be nominated for an Olivier, it was special because of the people I met on that show. Many, I now consider dear friends and family. And they are as stagey as hell. Tania Mathurin, aunty Sharon D Clarke, Sister Golda Rosheuvel, Ange Ceasar, Jade Ewen, Claudia Kariuki, Nicola Hughes, David Albury, Leon Lopez, Oliver Lidert, Cedric Neal, Tyrone Huntley… good, wholesome, salt of the earth people.
Look how much stupid fun we’re having. Ugh, good times.
5. “Glitter and Be Gay” from Candide
Um… can you believe your gay luck? Glitter… and… be gay!? YAAAAS, GAWD!
Le Gateau Chocolat: Icons runs at Soho Theatre from 31 October to 4 November.