Entertainment Hive 2017

Under the feathers we are all the same

By Honey B

When UK cabaret sensation Le Gateau Chocolat had the chance to create his first-ever children’s show, the big-hearted performer made sure there was a moral to the tale. His debut kid’s show Duckie presents a fresh, funny and heartfelt take on the classic tale of The Ugly Duckling and it features plenty of great sing-a-longs and imaginative costumes. It also touches on the issues of bullying and self-acceptance and Duckie was born out of a single moment of pure acceptance in a magical night at the theatre. “I didn’t set out to make a kid’s show,’’ Le Gateau says. “I was booked as the penultimate act about two years ago for a variety show. “I didn’t realise until I got on-stage that there were about 35 kids in the audience. Not only were there all of these kids but they were actually sitting in the space that normally reinforces the fourth wall. “They were between the first row of seats and the stage, which is usually empty and is a gulf between the performer and the stage.’’ Le Gateau had to think quickly and while he was performing his first song, I Dreamed A Dream from Les Mis, he decided to take his set in a whole new direction. “I finished singing and I took my shoes off and I went and sat amongst the kids and asked their ages and talked with them. “Then I sang Beauty and the Beast and I finished with Nothing Compares to You. “I have performed gigs all around the world and at beautiful places like the Sydney Opera House but this show was simply a wonderful moment. “On paper this show shouldn’t have worked but it did.’’ Later that night the artistic director of Le Gateau’s show tweeted that he had never experienced anything like that show. “He called me the next day and asked if I wanted to make a kid’s show. From that night we thought about connecting kids to music. “While that original night was fun I thought that there was an opportunity to pass on all of the messages I talk about in my adult show. “If you can make an impression in a child’s world then maybe their world view changes a little bit.’’ The idea of Duckie started to come into view for Le Gateau  who had been bullied as a child and also struggled with self-acceptance like many young people growing up. “What I find with most fairytales is at the end of it all everything gets better and in real life it doesn’t magically get better or all of a sudden you are pretty. There’s some hardship and then it’s better. “For someone who was severely bullied at school, no-one handed me a medal or gave me a better a life in secondary school – you go out into the real world. “For me, Duckie is what happens when happy ever after doesn’t happen. Sometimes you don’t turn into a swan and sometimes you are just born a duck who is different to the other ducks. “It’s how you understand to be comfortable in your own skin and appreciating that being a duck is enough because that is what you are. “It’s about acceptance and embracing difference instead of promoting fear. “We are all human beings first and it’s important to underline that. It’s important to evolve and change your world view.’’ Le Gateau says he knows these are lofty goals but he also knows children are very accepting. “These are the kinds of images and goals that if we put even light brush strokes on – they are far more important to me than doing a show of princess songs.’’ Le Gateau Chocolat in Duckie, the Garden of Unearthly Delights, Carona Theatre until March 14. Bookings: 1300 621 255
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