He is comparable to a decadent and richly layered dessert, he sings like an angel and dresses like Catwoman turned technicolour. Le Gateau Chocolate and his tres fabulous performance extravaganza is set to appear of an evening within the Garden of Unearthly Delights from February.
This most glamorous baritone diva opens up to Australian Stage about his life before lycra, making fabulous mistakes and coming back to Adelaide for his solo show debut.
Your live performances are nothing short of a spectacle, both visually and aurally, you must have spent some time in serious operatic training?
That's very kind of you to say. I had a few singing lessons when I was 18 but a lot of my education has been 'on the job'. I've the good fortune of working on some amazing projects, with some amazing directors and in some decadent cabaret shows. I'm proud to say I'm a Royal Academy of Music reject. Yes, they said no. Hasn't stopped me though.
At what point in your career did you decide to deviate from traditional performance and inhabit the decadent cabaret figure you are today? Did you always know your glamour could not be contained within a classic libretto and a waistcoat?
Well I never deviated from the opera world because before the singing, there was the studying and obtaining a Law degree. The deviation was from a life of boredom and what would no doubt have been a path to mid life crisis. There's nothing wrong with that world it’s just the call to singing, lycra and intense urge to perform was much stronger. This has been the best mistake I've ever made and one that I’m very thankful for.
So you’ve performed around the word in the Speigeltent, and you’ve been to the Adelaide Fringe before. How do you find Australian audiences receive you?
I had a superlative time in Adelaide. It was a major step in my evolution, the first time I’d taken Le Gateau Chocolat off the gay scene and clubs in London and put it in a theatrical setting, on the other side of the world. Its also where I met lots of people I now consider family; Scott Maidment – Strut and Fret producer, my performance family – La Clique and now La Soiree and the band of carnies I’m proud to call my friends. The reaction was very cordial. Who'd have thought it?
Now I have to say your costumes are a highlight for me every time, where do you get your inspiration and lycra?
From a lovely lady in China who hasn't a clue what I wear them for. One of these days, I’m gonna make up a calendar for her in all the different looks and send it over. Hahaha. Skin tight lycra and a fuller figure would normally be considered a faux pas but that's precisely why it works for me. I'm making a statement about my size and reclaiming my body. I have been bullied, taunted, name it but I embrace every inch of who I am. And what a fabulous way to do it!
I’ve seen you sing everything from Sinead O’Connor to Rihanna to Puccini’s Turandot. Can you give us a clue as to what we might expect in your solo feature show debut?
Literally like my ipod, I'm hoping to keep the mix as varied as that, jumping from pop to rock to R'n'B to opera. Some of these songs will make a reappearance but as for the final set list? I'm still writing the show – don't know what's going to make the final cut. I'm very excited and very much looking forward to coming back to Adelaide, which in my head, is where it all began.
Le Gateau Chocolat plays at The Garden of Unearthly Delights 15 Feb - 13 Mar, as part of the 2011 Adelaide Fringe Festival. Further details»