Jonny Woo and Le Gateau Chocolat: A Night at the Musicals review at Soho Theatre – ‘drag royalty’
In the West End, musical theatre is usually performed under a proscenium arch and behind a fourth wall. At Soho Theatre however, Le Gateau Chocolat and Jonny Woo high-kick the wall down, strut into the audience, and invite all the ladies, gentlemen and those special enough to transcend gender to join them in song.
The budget is scant, the cast consists of just two people performing and the set consists of two microphones, a black curtain glittered with LED lights, and a red carpet – which is fitting as we are in the presence of drag royalty.
The costumes are many and resplendent in their magnificence; beaded fringe bounces off the performers’ bottoms as as they shimmy and sashay. And there are no fewer than 18 wonderful wig changes.
The show itself consists of show tune after glorious show tune with a tenuous link to lead from one to the next. An effervescent rendition of I Know Him So Well follows a spoken interlude about the differences between the pair: one of them uses cocoa butter, the other uses Dove; one of them is naturally sun-kissed, the other wears factor 50; one of them is black, one of them is white – like pieces on a chess board.
As well as being an undeniable crowd-pleaser, A Night at the Musicals is socially aware without being trite. There’s a nod to the Black Lives Matter movement, and when a request for West Side Story comes from the crowd, Le Gateau Chocolat interrupts that famous lyric with “nobody wants to live in America”.