Review: Duckie by Le Gateau Chocolat

Le Gateau Chocolat's family friendly cabaret has the seed of an enchanting adaptation but still needs to find its voice

★★
kids review (edinburgh) | Read in About 2 minutes
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Le Gateau Chocolat - Duckie
Published 05 Aug 2018

Le Gateau Chocolat is a phenomenal singer. Whether the meat of Duckie holds up to the power of its star's vocals is still up for debate. 

The show is undoubtedly charming in premise: Hans Christian Andersen's 'The Ugly Duckling', restyled to accommodate a tale of finding your voice. Against the original source material's somewhat shallow conclusion, Le Gateau Chocolat's Duckie never makes the transformation into a swan. Instead he's recognised for his strengths, a far more progressive moral to send children into the world with.

Repurposing the fairytale, writers Tommy Bradson and Flick Ferdinando set the story within a literal circus of animals, from mighty lions to elegant flamingoes, via a mystic peacock who daftly lampoons the Magical Negro trope. This dual writing credit may well be the show's downfall, however: there are a few too many ideas floated, too many narrative tones played with. The show, shorter than most with a forty minute running time, feels overstuffed.

A disembodied narrator leads Le Gateau Chocolat through his performance, right down to prompting him when it's best to do a new character's costume. In a children's show that sits squarely into the current family-friendly show aesthetic (shabby chic set pieces and a plethora of haphazard props ready to be magicked into performing creatures), the audience have already entered willingly into a suspension of disbelief. This breaking of the forth wall halts the story and, jarringly, halts our engagement with the show as a piece of escapism. More's the pity when the magic's undermined.