I’m hopelessly devoted to the gorgeous Le Gateau Chocolat and the super-sexy Jonny Woo and not just because they performed the most outstanding Grease revival to grace the last few decades of Danny and Sandy iconography. The entire audience sang merrily along, doing actions and all.
These divine divas are the very epitome of what it means to put on a show. Oozing talent and sequins with an easy repartee it is evident that they have been centre-stage since they were tadpoles.
Two lonely mic stands are set in a spotlight on the Visy stage while the sold-out audience filed in as a long build-up of Streisand show tunes played. Two audience members across from each other were engaged in a quick-draw fan-war (it is melty at Melt!) and I had a thought that this might be it: two microphones, a Babs record on long-play and then a gracious bow to rapturous applause, the stale ambience of the great age of the drag show. Wouldn’t that be poignant.
Le Gateau, a big booming baritone (think Barry White in a gorgeous frock) and Woo (with all that terrific leg) take us on a journey of some much-loved tunes while utterly messing with them. A mere taste of their masterly mayhem dishes up Le Gateau as Christine while Woo is the Phantom – the Phantom Menace perhaps as Woo sings through a Darth Vadar mask. A bearded, Chocolat Elsa from Frozen delivers an illuminating rendition of ‘Let it Go’ and the Nigerian-born Baritone pays homage to his homeland with an abridged, and very amusing version of the Lion King.
Woo’s lip-syncing, one-woman rendition of Les Miserables calls to mind the trashy washed-up drag, the has-been musical diva. With a drab garment as her only prop to define character changes, she had the audience reeling with laughter, but there is also an apt misery underlying the piece.
Gateau and Woo deliver an outstanding and witty cabaret that pays homage to divas of both genders that have made the musical genre a lasting deity to the queer community. There’s no surprises here in the act of drag, the wigs, the dresses, the impressive feats of balance on high-heels but the unexpected and pleasant surprise is the superior talent of these performers and just what they have chosen to do with it.
As we embark on yet another year of global anxiety over a different set of caricatures, everyone could use A Night at the Musicals as queers do what they do best in a crisis- get you through it with frocks and frivolity. Don’t miss these two supremely talented artists entertaining Brisbane as part of the Melt! Festival until January 29. See the Brisbane Powerhouse for details and bookings.