Gok Wan at Leeds City Varieties

By November 7, 2017

Comedy. Leeds.



It really is all about the confidence, it seems. In fact, it’s this brash and arguably odd confidence that gave Gok Wan his first step into the world of fashion – lying to an agent about being a make-up artist. It’s hardly the fairytale story you’d expect from a tell-all show.

From a fairly fondly discussed childhood growing up working in a Chinese restaurant to battles with obesity, anorexia and body dysmorphia, Gok Wan takes ‘open book’ to a whole new level in his new show: Naked & Baring All. The show is told in a linear manner, chronologically going through key moments in Gok’s life from the time he played Dandini in a school play, took part in the raving scene, shoplifted, lied and finally clawed his way to stardom. I have to admit, the show doesn’t make me like Gok Wan very much. To say I was a fan walking into the venue, to leave with a slightly tarnished impression probably wasn’t the end result the production team will have been aiming for. Even Gok’s delivery on stage is slightly unlikeable, and bringing up long video monologues of his friends singing his praises is just squirmingly uncomfortable.

I read somewhere the idea for this show came about as Gok Wan loves taking part in Panto – and to be frank the whole two hours (that’s right, two hours of a one-man show) feel very Panto indeed. It’s cute as a novelty but the staged and stiff delivery becomes a bit grating after a while.

Many members of the audience seem to love it – he gives an impression that he’s ‘one of us’ and we can all achieve what he has. In fact, his fame seems to be built on manufactured luck and it’s not something I feel anyone should aspire to.

Unless you’re an absolute Gok Wan superfan, I wouldn’t recommend going along to see this show.