Olivier-award winner show La Soirée returns to London for the festive season, amid Christmas shows and candle-lit concerts, proving to be the perfect alternative show for un-Christmassy Londoners. Its mix of cabaret, performance and circus is certainly the most entertaining ever to inhabit Southbank’s Spiegeltent.
The moment you step in the tent you can feel the excitement of half-lit, classy vintage circus: the Spiegeltent is a wonderful venue for these shows, with its booths, ushers in period costume and velvety glamour. Suddenly, a man in a 30’s mafia outfit appears and introduces the show, and one can only expect Liza Minnelli coming up next. Instead, we get Miss Frisky, who by fabulously singing CeCe Peniston’s Finally puts everyone in the mood. What follows can only be described as the funniest, most amazing circus show I have ever seen.
Cabaret and circus do go very well together, and a night in which you not only watch in amazement but laugh, sometimes uncontrollably, is something worth buying a ticket for. With the talents of Mario Queen of the Circus, Captain Frodo, Yammel Rodríguez, Asher Treleaven, Denis Lock, Hamish McCann, Melanie Chy and Bret Pfister in juggling-hula-hooping, contortionism, pole acrobatics, bubble sculpting (!), diabolo, the single strap and aerial acrobatics, wonders await. In this cosy space, all these acrobatic feats take place so up close that you feel part of the action. In addition to these, and also utterly hilarious, was Mooky Cornish in a ‘dramatic actress’ routine that involved a member of the audience being on stage for quite a while with catastrophically funny consequences.
Perhaps what made the evening work so wonderfully was the great energy of the performers, creating a great atmosphere. The audience was hooked from the very beginning, and we were all left wanting more! From gravity-defeating aerial acrobatics to the wonders of bubbles (the only act that got an explosive standing ovation) to diabolo Kamasutra, the different acts flow gracefully and seamlessly in a riotous feast for the eyes. Apart from the obvious eye-candy – after all, who doesn’t like acrobats in briefs? – there is a powerful sensual charge to this show that makes it even more addictive (ok, maybe excepting Captain Frodo dislocating his shoulders so he can fit in a tennis racket). And wait until you see that ‘Singing in the Rain’ scene!
A fiery, sexy, joyous, incredible evening, La Soirée is one of those shows you leave just wanting to come back and see it again and again. Grab your hula-hoop, sit back and enjoy the ride. Circus doesn’t get any better than this!
La Soirée is playing at the Southbank Spiegeltent until 17 January. For more information and tickets, see the Southbank Centre website.