UKTW - 25 years online

La Clique

5
Returning to Leicester Square for the Christmas season.
By Derek

la Clique review

Underbelly in association with David Bates present La Clique in the Spiegeltent in Leicester Square with a stunning line-up of award-winning, world-class circus and cabaret acts.

The show I saw started with aerialist Hugo Desmarais working solo in a flying cage, scaring the front row audience as he skimmed above their heads, attached by less and less of his body to the frame as he twisted into unbelievable shapes. Mirko Köckenberger skated on before performing amazing hand balancing feats on items of luggage while stripping off, then dressing again. Upside down on a roller. He must have a thing about clothes because he returns later in a fast, funny quickchange routine with Hula Boy Craig Reid. Reid’s solo hula act surprised me as the one which gave most delight. A great showman amongst a remarkable troupe.

Australian physical comedienne J’aiMime had two pieces: a modern interpretation of the old half-woman, half-man routine and adventures inside a giant rubber balloon. The audience lapped it up. The first half closed with the spectacular, breath-taking, heart-stopping roller-skating acrobatic duo Pierre and Steph, from the world famous The Skating Willers family – featuring a very brave volunteer. Praise to the fast and efficient stage managers who set and cleared so much equipment.

Acclaimed New York-based saxophonist Leo P performs within the brilliant La Clique Palais Orkestra before taking the stage for his own piece – how he dances and plays with such fervour is beyond me.

The fire-breathing, sword-swallowing, Heather Holliday had many audience members looking away in fear and disbelief at her nonchalant oral skills. In a show bristling with risk, her work is incredible. Hackney born aerial artist L J Marles embodied strength, power and beauty in his work on the vertical straps. Enchanting.

All this is blended by MC Bernie Dieter with her dynamic soaring vocals, dangerously provocative original songs and stiletto wit. She readily engages the audience, pumping us up to a frenzy. David Bates directs for speed and optimum effect, with storming musical direction by Dannie Bourne.

The performers really push the limits of what a human body can do, and sometimes go beyond, to what shouldn’t be possible. There’s a great range of emotions: it’s funny, raucous, uncompromising, impressive, cheeky, scary and strangely satisfying. For jaw-dropping speciality cabaret, you can’t beat La Clique.

Derek Benfield


 
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