La Clique has been a feature on the Fringe for over ten years and has a well deserved reputation for slick circus cabaret and variety. This year's show from director and creator Craig Ilott is something a little different. Disco has grooved its way into the Famous Spiegeltent and the audience is quite literally dancing in the aisles.
Disco is back, baby, and its name is Velvet!
Velvet is part circus, part concert, with as much time given over to song as circus skills – so the quality of the singers is going to make or break this show and they certainly make it. The legendary Marcia Hines and Australian pop star Brendan MacLean share lead vocal duties and have impressive voices that makes their renditions of the disco classics – mixed and arranged by Joe Accaria – thrilling. Chaska Halliday and Rechelle Mansour on backing vocals light up the stage with buckets of charisma and energy.
The circus keeps up the pace, though. Mirko Köckenberger’s handstand acrobatics are fun yet daring and he oozes the sexy confidence of a disco superstar. Aerial performances are provided by the spectacular Stephen Williams and Emma Goh who perform both together and individually in routines that are daring and smoking hot. Craig Reid as The Incredible Hula Boy is the clear audience favourite, with a delightfully cheeky stage persona and some of the best hula-hoop action I‘ve seen in a long time; the audience thrill whenever he is on stage.
Unfortunately the inclusion of Perle Noir is a bit of a mis-step for an otherwise perfect show. Ms Noir is a fantastic burlesque performer and I’m always excited to see her on the bill but her striptease is strangely out of place in Velvet. This audience seemed confused about how to react to her routine and it was met with the least enthusiastic response of the night. There is a chance for Ms Noir to bring the sexy back later in the show when things turn a little dark and, as always, she shows that she deserves to be considered one of the grand dames of the burlesque world.
Velvet is a daring change from the usual La Clique format and the mix of disco and circus could put some off but, if you love the music and you enjoy the circus, this is definitely one of the must see shows of the Fringe. Disco is back, baby, and its name is Velvet!