Fashion Freak Show ★★★★★ Roundhouse | Jul 15 - Aug 28, 2022


Wildly, joyfully and imaginatively over the top! This musical spectacle chronicles Jean Paul Gaultier's life and influences, and it constantly blows the audience away with its inventiveness and daring. It all begins with Gaultier's childhood dream of staging his teddy bears in a Folies Bergère experience. The show then wittily traces his life in the world of haute couture with some sly shots at the "fashion police" and at such icons as Karl Lagerfeld. A catwalk is incorporated that allows the audience to relish some of the fantastic and fabulous designs that made Gaultier the enfant terrible of the fashion world. While the show shocks and delights it also has incredibly tender moments. The story of Gaultier's first love is extraordinarily moving. And all of this happens with acrobatics, amazing couture and awe-inspiring visuals. Gaultier is a magpie, immediately attracted to the bright and the beautiful, able to assimilate various influences and capable of repurposing and recasting in a new light all that he appropriates. The production's eclectic music runs from Édith Piaf and Cole Porter to Jimi Hendrix and the Eurythmics. The cinematic influences extend from Falbalas through French Cancan to The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Gaultier manages to weave all the disparate strands into a coherent and unique theatrical experience that celebrates the plurality of beauty, the chic of the freak and the joy of diversity. This is certainly "a show like no other" and it is definitely a highlight of the summer.

Rated: ★★★★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Photo by Mark Senior.

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