La Clique
  • By Pete Shaw
  • |
  • 15th Nov 2019
  • |
  • ★★★★★

Almost inevitably, doing a show at Christmas draws comparisons to Panto – that staple of British theatre that keeps the house funded for the rest of the year; but stood next to La Clique, Panto looks like an antique. Even the growing popularity of adult Panto feels hopelessly unsophisticated in the wake of La Clique’s sexually-charged onslaught of exceptional talent.

A jaw dropping delight.

With its beginnings at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe of 2004 (the same place and year of Broadway Baby’s birth), bawdy burlesque-cum-contemporary circus La Clique has had plenty of time to refine its craft and this year’s show – as the highlight of Underbelly’s Christmas In Leicester Square – may well be the best yet.

Hedonistic, erotogenic and opulent, it’s hosted by Little Death Club’s Bernie Dieter, mistress of Weimar punk, who corrals a troupe of expert cabaret and variety acts supported by vocalist Kelly Wolfgramm and ‘La Clique Palace Orkestra’. Dieter flirts constantly with her audience, her playthings in a deliciously wicked game of chicken. Dieter always wins.

The programme suggests the line up will not always be the same, but you can expect a potent cocktail of acrobats, contortionists, magicians, aerialists, musicians and striptease all precisely curated by director Craig Ilott so that every eye in the Spiegeltent is fixed on the current turn; never once glancing at a watch to see when the next act might be coming along.

We’re eased in by Florian Brooks, a Belgium-born juggler who proves there are more interesting things to throw and catch than just bowling pins. This is followed variously by the very fit Jamie Swan impressing on aerial straps; Heather Holliday, sword swallowing and fire breathing to a skill level I’ve never before witnessed; Charlie Wheeler whose hoedown with the Cyr Wheel was particularly impressive given the size of the performing area; ‘Bath Boy’ Stephen Williams who took delight in acrobatically splattering as much of the audience as he could, tumbling in and out of a cast iron bath; Lydia Norman and Zoe Marshall performing both a double act in an aerial hoop and individually with their own specialities, and David Pereira in the first half twisting impossibly atop a shopping trolley, and in the second half shaving his face with his foot wearing nothing more than a millimetre of shaving foam smeared over his magnificently toned body.

To say I enjoyed the performance would be an understatement. I loved it. There may be very little Christmas in it, but for a show at Christmas it’s a jaw dropping delight.

Reviews by Pete Shaw

The Phoenix Arts Club Facebook Live Page

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★★★★★
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Since you’re here…

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Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
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Performances

Location

The Blurb

The multi-award winning La Clique returns to the West End, a decade on from winning the Best Entertainment Olivier Award for its season at the Leicester Square Hippodrome. Born at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2004, this original and trailblazing Spiegeltent cabaret show has gone on to tour the globe to international acclaim and now returns to the beautiful Leicester Square Spiegeltent with a magnificent collection of extraordinary new artists and unmissable favourites.

Starring mistress of mayhem Bernie Dieter (Little Death Club) as MC, gentleman juggler Florian Brooks, the fire-breathing, sword-swallowing, side-show sensation Heather Holiday, iconic Bath Boy acrobat Stephen Williams and many more acts to be announced over the coming months. Accompanying this stellar line up will be La Clique Palace Orchestra, the scintillating live house band featuring the astounding vocals of Kelly Wolfgramm.

La Clique is the alternative Christmas show featuring the crème de la crème of the worlds of circus, comedy, cabaret, subversive performance and contemporary Vaudeville – promising a night of laughs, gasps, naughtiness and the best in cheeky adult cabaret.

Posh Seats: Enjoy a glass of bubbles and the best seats in the house! Seats in the reserved, front two rows closest to the stage and each ticket comes with a glass of Prosecco. Be the ultimate La Clique VIP. 

La Clique includes an interval. Recommended for over 16’s. Under 16’s must be accompanied by a responsible adult. The show contains adult content including strong language and nudity. Real flame will be used in performances.

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