Theatre Review: A Night at the Musicals – Jonny Woo and Le Gateau Chocolat

Anyone who has enjoyed an evening out on Soho’s Dean Street this week will quite likely have heard snippets of this show already, writes Cary Gee.

To say that Le Gateau Chocolat has a gob on him is like saying that Brexit negotiations could be going better. While Brexit was the subject of a recent one-off spectacular (and it really was) performed by Jonny Woo, and featuring an inspired cameo by Le Gateau Chocolat (as Nigel Farage), this time around London’s leading alternative drag stars are on more familiar ground.

It’s a medley of musical theatre’s greatest hits, performed as only these two can. Travesty collides with tragedy, high camp with cosmic calamity, all delivered with a bravura that at times threatens to mask the supreme technique on display. Woo’s orchestration, coupled with Le Gateau’s astonishing baritone, even manages to resuscitate the Phantom of the Opera, albeit as a blackly comic duel between light and dark, with Woo providing the shade in a Darth Vader mask.

While Kander and Ebb’s vaudevillian Chicago and Cabaret are sitting targets for Woo’s satire, it is the inutterably wretched Les Misérables that provides the loudest laugh. I couldn’t help thinking the Glums might have been put out of their misery a whole lot sooner and saved us, the audience, several hours of weariness if these two had been in charge of Les Misérables from the start.

Despite the temptation to ridicule, Woo and Chocolat clearly retain a love of their material, and an innate understanding of the genre. They are simply too seasoned, and far too clever to leave bombast unpricked. And for that, and the Exocet precision with which they lampoon I Know Him So Well, we should all be immensely grateful.

If you love musical theatre then it goes without saying you will love this show. If you loathe musical theatre, chances are you will still love this show, and therein lies Woo’s and Le Gateau’s genius.

A Night at the Musicals is at the Soho Theatre in London until Saturday 30 March

Go to: www.sohotheatre.com