In his autobiographical solo-show, Phillipe Andre Coquet takes the audience on a journey through his remarkable life. From growing up in New York, close to gangs, drugs, hookers and pimps, to being a teenager in 70s Hollywood discos, to spending 25 years in a New Age cult, and to a midlife career change as an erotic masseur – Coquet has seen it all.
His story is musically infused with classic Broadway songs such as ‘Life is a Cabaret’ or ‘Glitter and be Gay’, as he simultaneously explores the history of sex-workers in Broadway musicals, the very thing that made him a theatre-kid and a performer later in life. His performances are all acapella, because ‘his accompanist didn’t accompany him to Scotland’, as Coquet explains. However, his beautiful singing voice makes up for it.
There were a few wardrobe malfunctions and bits of the show seemed slightly under rehearsed, but Coquet handled them well – with help from audience members, who did not mind giving him a hand in taking off his trousers (one of many costume changes) in the slightest.
‘Hi, ho, hi, ho’ carefully navigates between being educational and a bit silly, between cabaret and melodrama and between comedy and emotion. You never quite know which turn this roller-coaster of a life is going to take next. It really is impressive, what he has lived through, and it certainly is a story to tell, although it could benefit from an outside director with a fresh view on it, as some darlings might have to be killed for the benefit of good pacing here.
This is a show for musical-theatre lovers, sex-workers, or those who want to learn about them and anyone looking for a good time. So, grab the girls, gays and theys, get yourselves a few drinks in the beer-garden before the show and enjoy this biographical-broadway-burlesque!
Reviewer: Christina Schmidt
Reviewed: 9th August 2023
North West End UK Rating: