Underbelly, David Bates & Spiegeltent International present
Live in Leicester Square
Photo by Craig Sugden
Leicester Square Spiegeltent
Christmas in Leicester Square
18 Nov 2019 – 4 Jan 20202
A Review by Mary Couzens for EXTRA! EXTRA!
All of the acts in this new, revamped La Clique shout ‘Don’t try this at home.’ Not that any viewer would be capable of suspending themselves over a filled bathtub on cords, twirling and spiralling their way into circus legend, or, alternating between fire-eating and blowing flaming clouds like a dragon or swallowing swords and sabres, but we can dream. And in terms of derring do, this upbeat show certainly gives us plenty to dream on, especially when you consider that the aforementioned are just two of many among the stellar acts in this fast-paced firmament. Stephen Williams aka Bath Boy and Heather Holliday are the stand outs on a menu of circus stars who all shine definitively in their own spheres. Bernie Dieter updates the ring master role by looking back, and drawing on Weimer kabarett, serving plenty up of spangly sass, via cleverly penned, well delivered original songs, at times, reminiscent of Rocky Horror Show and smatterings of suggestive banter with men in the audience, in one case referred to as ‘Silver Fox’, incorporating those willing to play along by the end into her act.
Florian Brooks, ‘gentleman juggler’, with his, seemingly, off the cuff, Bertie Wooster demeanour started off the evening with a light-handed, charming performance making much more of a few wine glasses, a tray and what looked like a bread roll than anyone ever could. Seeing is definitely enjoying! Starting the night off on a classy note was a bit of slight of hand in itself as all was, intentionally, tongue in cheek on a downward scale from there, in terms of tone, rather than performances. That said, the band, with mega talented, Kelly Wolfgramm giving a varying range of vocals indelible marks all their own, was first rate in all regards, exhibiting as diverse a collection of songs and renderings of them as anyone could hope for, making them not only an integral part of things, but moreish enough for shows of their own.
Unusual in mind, lanky David Perreira, former finalist of France’s Got Talent 2013, gracefully balanced on various parts of a shopping trolley as though it was second nature to him, which it likely is, ballet training as apparent as his ability to effortlessly move viewers to the edges of their seats. His later stint in the second half of the show in the altogether, apart from strategically placed shaving foam, drew even more appreciation from males than females.
Charlie Wheeler is aptly named, given his penchant for his oversized Cyr Wheel, which he deftly steps in and out of donned in cowboy shirt and jeans to appropriately countrified music. His enthusiasm for his act was infectious and his skill was admirable. Likewise, Zoe Marshall, who literally, hangs by her hair above the crowd, twirling and spinning at a dizzying pace, fascinating and heightening tension all the while. She and Lydia Norman performed a scantily clad take on a sister act, simultaneously writhing and sweating suggestively to the point where even I found that their burlesque blurred appreciation of their acrobatic skills. It must be added here that gone are the days of physical diversity in La Clique, as there are no gangly or pleasingly plump clowns or buffoons here, with everyone on this roster buff and then some, each, notably, at the top of their games. So, rather than endearingly representing a cross section of global society, enabling laughter of recognition, as the cast has always, admirably, done before, on my last three viewings of the show, spaced some years apart, on this outing, only ‘gentleman juggler, Florian Brooks’ admirable act is sans intentionally ‘sexy’ distractions.
Charlie WheelerPhotography Craig Sugden <
Photo by Craig Sugden
That said, off-beat is the name of the game in La Clique, a show that stresses inclusiveness, as repeatedly pointed out, providing those included are not faint of heart or, proverbial old farts! Those points are emphasized, at times, via double and, triple entendres and booze jokes to the point where the uninebriated in the house may come precariously close to finding them wearing. But hey, this rollicking version of La Clique is designed to entertain a fun thirsty house, and entertain it does!
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• Christmas in Leicester Square, Leicester Square Spiegeltent WC2H 7NA| Runtime 120 mins • Tickets from: £19.50 (£18.00) | Preview Prices from: £10 (£8.50) • Previews: 8th, 11th – 13th Nov (19.45) | 9th Nov (19:00 & 22.00) • 19:45: 14th, 18th – 21st, 25th – 28th Nov, 2nd – 5th, 9th – 12th, 16th – 19th, 23rd, 30th Dec, 1st - 2nd Jan • 19:00 & 22:00: 15th – 16th, 22nd – 23rd, 29th – 30th Nov, 6th – 7th, 13th – 14th, 20th – 21st, 27th – 28th Dec, 3rd – 4th Jan • 19:00: 26th Dec
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