The musical spectacle based on the life of fashion icon by Jean Paul Gaultier
in London’s iconic Roundhouse
Friday 15 July – Sunday 28 August
“Eccentric, scandalous, provocative, exuberant, and funny as ever, Jean Paul Gaultier is set to shake up London this summer when his stunning creation, Fashion Freak Show – 50 years of pop culture through the eyes of fashion’s enfant terrible – takes up residence at the Roundhouse.
The production, an explosive combination of revue and fashion show, depicts the sensational life of Jean Paul Gaultier against a backdrop of his generation’s most defining political and cultural changes.  The iconic music – from Disco to Funk, from Pop to Rock and New Wave and Punk – boasts a playlist of hits that have inspired the artist throughout his life.Jean Paul Gaultier said: “I’m so thrilled that my Fashion Freak Show will be returning to London to take up residence at the Roundhouse.  After a two-year hiatus, I cannot think of a better place to celebrate the return of the show than my favourite city. London is dear to my heart and has always been a constant source of inspiration. I have been coming here since my youth and have been greatly influenced by British music, theatre and cinema throughout my career from ‘The Rocky Horror Show’ through Punk and New Wave – and I keep coming back. I hope that audiences will enjoy the show as much as I did creating it.” 
Fashion Freak Show premiered with an acclaimed run in Paris in 2019 at the legendary Folies Bergère and has been updated and reimagined for the Roundhouse to be staged with a catwalk.
In this extraordinary production, actors, dancers and circus artists take to the stage and play outlandish, passionate, larger than life, provocative, sexy, sassy creatures and personalities. Set against a backdrop of a giant video wall, a key part of the production features vignettes of special guest stars – including a number of Gaultier’s long-term, iconic supporters and friends. Rossy de Palma plays the young Gaultier’s unforgiving schoolteacher, who harbours secret fashion fantasies of her own, while Catherine Deneuve reads out the witty names that Gaultier gave his creations in his fabulous men’s couture show of the early ’90s.As author, director and costume designer, Jean Paul Gaultier looks back at an era with extravagance and tenderness and invites us behind the scenes into his world filled with excess, poetry and magic. From his childhood to his early career, from his greatest fashion shows to the wild nights in Le Palace or London, Jean Paul Gaultier shares his journal of the times and pays tribute to those who inspired him in film (Pedro Almodovar, Luc Besson), music (Madonna, Kylie Minogue, Mylene Farmer) and dance (Régine Chopinot, Angelin Prejlocaj). In the show, conceived like a grand party, Jean Paul Gaultier will surprise us yet again. He has designed hundreds of new exclusive outfits, showcased within an exuberant set – without forgetting to include his most iconic creations! He has collaborated with the best in their field, including the late actress, scriptwriter and director Tonie Marshall, who co-directed the show, and choreographer Marion Motin”
Review by Richard Lambert, 5 Stars
Arriving to watch this show and I wasn’t sure if I was going to enjoy it. The production photos were very uninspiring. But, a few minutes into the show, and WOW. What a fantastic production!!!
Purpose built to fit into the Roundhouse in Camden, the pillars are lined with Pixel lines, there are 7 high resolution video screens back of stage between the pillars. These rotate. Then there are 4 large moving spider screens that cross the stage apron allowing for modern gauze bleed-through effects. The catwalk is comprised of video blocks – the catwalk even integrates a stage revolve. The entire venue has a super-truss grid structure to rig all the lighting fixtures. More aligned to Cirque du Soleil in the Albert Hall than the Roundhouse. This is a phenomenally well constructed high-quality production! You’d expect the costumes to be magnificent, and they are! I lost count of the costume changes the cast went through.
Fashion Freak Show has everything – drama, fashion, burlesque, comedy, all packaged into an incredible sound, light and video package the like of which hasn’t been seen before in London. It has pushed the boat out and pushed the bar to an unparalleled height. Think Steps, Abba or a Madonna concert budget and then put this all into the Roundhouse! Every scene is well constructed – even the aerial straps are on pulleys, so much more difficult than a plain shackle, and woven into a sexy boy being suspended by bondage straps so it becomes a story.
I’ve seen more female tits and ass tonight than I’ve seen in my entire life. The choreography allows for hetero alongside same-sex action, and the video content and lighting design are to die for! This is an adult show without being crass or crude. Take your mum but not your child!
With a lot of tongue-in-cheek self-awareness underlying the story, it shows a lot of humour and exposes the hypocrisy we expect in the fashion world. A fabulous choice on pumping songs through the decades lay solid foundations. There’s a number about the competitive nature of the Fashion industry and a lot of self-depracation from Gaultier himself. Mixing video content with live video feeds was seamless and top notch! The Sound was perfect, the casting spot-on. Everything about this production was done with style, polish and panache. The scene changes and seques so slick, masterfully directed so it all looks cross-fades and looks so easy!
Beg, steal, just get a ticket! This is a stunning must-see show!
Original Producer – Thiery Suc
International Producer – Garry McQuinn
Creator, Writer, Director and Costume Designer – Jean Paul Gaultier
Co-director – Tonie Marshall
Music arranger and orchestrator – Nile Rogers
Choreographer – Marion Motin
Lighting Designer – Per Hording
Video designer – Renauld Rubiano
Mike Gautier
Belen Leroux
Mademoiselle Ginger
Demi Mondaine
Beau Sargent
Thea Carla Schott
Verity Wright
Anouk Viale
Lea Vlamos

Photo Credit: Mark Senior