I Wish

Le Gateau Chocolat and Rachel Bagshaw, music and lyrics by Seiriol Davies
Unicorn Theatre
Unicorn Theatre (Clore Theatre)

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Jordan Laviniere

Aimed at an audience aged seven or under, this is a colourful, camp entertainment that offers a personal fairy godmother in the character of the androgyne Wish Giver who tells stories of wishes granted and a chance for our own dream to come true—but be careful, that could lead to consequences you wouldn’t want, like becoming the richest man in the world might just make everyone else poorer.

A one-person show that lasts just under an hour, it was conceived by Le Gateau Chocolat along with director Rachel Bagshaw (who became Unicorn’s artistic director last autumn) and Seriol Davies, who wrote the music and lyrics.

The show is as flamboyant as Le Gateau himself, and he was scheduled to perform it but illness intervened and now it is Jordan Laviniere who is strutting his stuff as the Wish Giver Effie, who emerges from behind a wall of what looks like thousands of hanging white handkerchiefs masquerading as a snowdrift. From a permeable background of the same kind, through which glow coloured lights, Laviniere can emerge in a variety of glittering guises as those who got wishes granted by the Wish Giver with (very) quick changes from glamorous red, orange and yellow layered ruffles to shiny gold suits and silver headwear or a halo of huge hair.

Effie has granted wishes from all kinds of people from small boys to princesses, like the princess who wanted to be beautiful. There’s a puppet to play her (Effie is probably too pretty to take that on), she’s given a mirror in which she will see herself just as lively as she wants to be, and of course there is Cinderella who wants to go to a ball, though she fears she will never fit in, but it is not so much the stories that make this such fun (and one of them does go on a trifle too long) but Effie’s diva delivery. She glows in the applause she gets, but that is matched by her friendly warmth when making direct contact with the audience. We don’t discover whether Jordan Laviniere has a wide a vocal range as Le Gateau, but he does a great job.

Some of these youngsters might wonder what hit them, but kids know how to enjoy, and this seemed to please them. Adults will relish the performance too, for Laviniere has style and could teach Ru Paul contestants a thing or two.

Reviewer: Howard Loxton

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