LIVE REVIEW: Christine and the Queens, KOKO London, 15/03/16

“We are Christine and the Queens, here for your entertainment.”

Talk about an understatement. It seems fitting that tonight Heloise Letissier decided to bring her alter-ego out in KOKO of all places, especially given that her birthplace Madame JoJo’s is no more. The Camden venue is suitably baroque in its classier elements but also unashamedly kitsch; in other words, very much a reflection of the performance on stage tonight.

It’s a pretty well-known fact by now that Christine is a star. She possesses that innate quality that not only can’t be taught, but also makes us question the state of so many inconsequential waifs polluting the pop world. After all, how many can successfully proffer a line like “I become the death Dickinson feared” on a layered and ultimately pop-based track like iT?

But it’s still the word ‘entertainment’ that’s the key throughout – Letissier stumbles, she clowns around, she engages in dance/house megamixes to balance out the profundity of her ballads. It also makes no difference that it’s largely a monochrome affair, given how much of a kaleidoscopic pinwheel the leading lady is. She absolutely brings the fire on songs like Tilted, and burns the house all the way down on Narcissus Is Back and her intense mashup of Paradis Perdus and Kanye‘s Heartless.

It’s remarkable, then, that a near 90-minute set sees not a single note out of place or a pause for breath, nor any song too large or too small for her surroundings (and her predominantly French audience). Sure some of the cheesier elements jar – the pin-sharp choreography veers between expert Michael Jackson bodywork and an extended mime-driven interlude of something like Rent – but No Harm Is Done and Jonathan stand out as set highlights, with Saint Claude and The Loving Cup a perfect nightcap at the end of a whirlwind. “I believe I’m a little boy who wants to grow up to be Beyonce,” Letissier explains to us at the top of her set. On the strength of her songwriting and charisma, tonight there seems every chance that when Christine does grow up to be a Queen, she could well overthrow Bey herself.

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Christine and the Queens, KOKO London, 15/03/16
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