I have to be honest and start by saying that on the whole I’m really not keen on circuses. In fact over the course of my life, and thanks to numerous horror movies I’ve developed a real dread of clowns. So it was with some trepidation that I braved the weather and headed to the Spiegeltent on London’s Southbank where La Soirée has taken up residence for the winter.
I needn’t have worried as La Soirée is less like an old time circus and more like the big variety shows that used to be the mainstay of Saturday night television – thankfully without any cheesy dancers. Once you take your place in the tent and the lights go down, the show starts in spectacular style with the wonderful singing of Miss Frisky really starting things in style, grabbing the audience and ensuring their attention was fully on the small stage in the centre of the tent. That focus was maintained over the next 90 minutes or so as a fantastic variety of acts took their turn to perform.
Mario: Queen of the Circus, a leather-clad reincarnation of Freddie Mercury who used the backing track of Queen hits to entertain in his own unique manner. From Norway, there was Captain Frodo and, thanks to him, Wimbledon will never be the same again. The stunningly beautiful Yammel Rodriguez for whom smoking is the least of her potentially harmful pastimes. Sheer sexuality came on the stage in the form of Asher Treleaven who not only knows how to make a diablo sexually relevant to men and women but is also a master at bringing a romantic novel to life. For the first time in the UK, Melanie Chy rides her motorbike onto the stage – a pretty impressive feat in itself, and brings the ancient art of hand balancing firmly into the 21st Century. And from Canada, there was the extremely handsome and very fit Brett Pfister a chap who really knows how to work a ring. Also from Canada, the lovely Mooky took to stage for a theatrical audition the likes of which you will never see again – somebody needs to tell Andrew Lloyd Webber. Finally, and I have saved them to last as they were my favourites, there were The English Gents (Denis Lock and Hamish McCann) looking very debonair in their pin-stripe suits and bowler hats as they performed superb feats of acrobatics together in the first act. In the second, the gents performed separately with Denis treating us to the most wonderful science lesson I’ve ever had as he takes bubble blowing to new heights of beauty and then Hamish absolutely wowing the audience with a tremendous and very sensual act involving him, a lamppost and Nina Simone.
Overall, I really enjoyed my visit to La Soirée from the moment I was welcomed by the very cheerful staff at the entrance right the way through to the final moment when my companion and I felt that on at least one level, we had joined the dysfunctional family that is the show. My one minor quibble is that for some of the audience, sitting in the middle section with the flat seating, it can be a bit difficult at times to see the stage. Luckily, it’s not a major inconvenience just an occasional one.
So there you have it, with La Soirée the circus really has come to town in fine style. The show is amazingly professional and entertaining throughout and really distracts the audience from the winter weather outside with thankfully, not a clown in sight.
Review by Terry Eastham
La Soirée returns to London following last year’s Oliver Award-winning season. The hit cabaret show is back for another awe-inspiring, jaw-dropping and downright unmissable run at La Soirée‘s Spiegeltent at Southbank Centre.
A theatrical phenomenon, an inspirational night of live entertainment: La Soirée‘s heady cocktail of cabaret, new burlesque, circus sideshow and contemporary variety is more potent than ever. Returning to London with their hottest line-up yet, La Soirée showcases the crème de la crème of the cabaret world as it introduces the newest members of its dysfunctional family alongside very dear old friends.
So step in from the cold, leave your troubles at the door and prepare for a night of thrills, shocks, laughter and disbelief as La Soirée banishes the winter blues and leaves you wanting to see it all over again.
Jubilee Gardens, Off Belverdere Road, London, SE1 8XX