Jean Paul Gaultier: Fashion Freak Show
Rating: ★★★★
Venue: Roundhouse, Camden

An explosive combination of musical revue and fashion show, depicting the sensational life of Jean Paul Gaultier. From Disco to Funk, from Pop to Rock and New Wave to Punk – the show boasts a playlist of hits that have inspired generations.

In this extraordinary production, actors, dancers and circus artists take to the stage to play outlandish, passionate, larger than life, provocative, sexy, sassy creatures and personalities that chart the journey of one of the world’s significant icons!

With just 52 shows in it's strictly limited season at the infamous Roundhouse, Jean Paul Gaultier brings his Fashion Freak Show to the stage. I went into the show with little knowledge of what to expect, but I was met with a show that's worthy of being on a Vegas stage.

The story starts with Gaultier's childhood and leads us into his years of adulthood, while highlighting some of the most iconic music through the decades, as well as showcasing just some of his infamous looks. Gaultier comments in the show that, "what you're seeing tonight is my childhood dream", and it truly does feel like you're in a dream!

Even as a reviewer, it's hard to put into words the nature of this show; it's completely one-of-a-kind, which I think is what'll draw audiences back night after night. There's the perfect balance of light and darkness, while celebrating iconic times such as the Vogue movement, while also touching on issues such as AIDS; with the most heart-breaking sequence regarding Gaultier's boyfriend, Francis.

photo by: Mark Senior

There were burlesque moments that reminded me of cabaret, showcasing outfits down a runway that reminded me of a catwalk and awe-inspiring acrobatics that reminded me of a circus. I almost want to say it's a revue, but it feels like that doesn't do it justice. It's a closer look into the life of one of the most prolific fashion designers of our time. Whether you're a fashionista yourself, or a fashion novice (like me), you'll enjoy this high energy show.

One of the highlights of the show (besides the outfits) is the music. Travelling through five decades of music, there's something for everyone in this piece. With a mixture of original versions and astounding live versions of feel-good anthems, you'll no doubt be leaving with a smile on your face. "Le Freak" and "Protect Yourself" were highlights for me. Who doesn't love free condoms?

There were two standout scenes within the piece for me. The first being the recreation of Gaultier's first fashion show. It was clunky, a little disorganised, but the talent of something unique was shining through. Even down to the hustle and bustle of the models changing backstage; it captured the vibe of a first show perfectly...even down to the cynics. Here's looking at you, fashion police!

photo by: Mark Senior

The second was It's a Man's World performed by Maud Amour. I'm still thinking about her performance today. Her burlesque is without a doubt, the best I've ever seen. I simply couldn't take my eyes off of her; she is magnetising whenever she's on stage; and was the star for me.

It goes without saying that the outfits are exceptional. It's like a Michelin star meal for your eyes; a true feast for the senses. Everywhere you look are bursts of colour and overflowing energy. I know little about fashion, but I came away feeling like a true fashionista!

One final note must go to the inclusion in this show. Not just on the stage (there's every shape, size, race and gender on that stage, and it's beautiful to see), but how included the show makes you feel. It encourages you to accept your differences, and embrace your weirdness. 

It's extravagant, sexy as hell and a true celebration of a great. With fantastic choreography, music and outfits; it's an unforgettable evening out. Let loose, let your hair down...and celebrate you!

photo by: Mark Senior

You can catch Jean Paul Gaultier: Fashion Freak Show at London's Roundhouse until 28 August, here.

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