Spiegeltent, Spiegeltent (venue)
16 November 2022 (released)
17 November 2022
The festive season is well underway in Leicester square, with a Christmas Market, twinkling lights draped from the trees and the majestic Spiegeltent, its crowning glory. If the market offers a fairly ordinary selection of hot-dogs and hot toddies, the Spiegeltent by contrast, houses the extraordinary, glittering cast of multi-award winning cabaret, ‘La Clique’.
I saw the first incarnation of La Clique at the Edinburgh Festival in 2004 and was dazzled by its mix of cheeky, character driven acts and sexy circus skills. It’s on a much bigger scale these days, the spiegeltent itself is not so beautiful but costumes and lighting are fabulous and most importantly the show hasn’t lost its beguiling wit and intimate charm. The performers are without exception, class acts where superb aerial skills and balancing acts delivered with such nonchalance, you are laughing one minute and awe-struck the next.
The female performers are a powerful team. Katharine Arnold gets you thinking about ideals of beauty as she wanders on in hospital gown and blood-filled drip, her body marked up for extensive surgery before leaping onto her aerial hoop in a display of beautiful strength to the tune of ‘I’m a freak’.
If you were going to try any of these acts at home, it would be Tara Booms mesmerising Umbrella dance. Watching her slowly turning first one then a group of open umbrellas balanced on her feet is an incredibly peaceful experience. A marked contrast to her chaotic and funny hoop and popcorn act.
Simple but stunning vocals from Ashley Stroud hit the spot with her performance of ‘That’s Life,’ so uplifting, it actually leaves you feeling most of life’s troubles have fled. And some sexy new burlesque from Miss Jolie Papilon, resplendent in feathers and not much else, completed the classic acts.
Sam Goodburn, the geeky unicyclist who beneath his bobbly hat and saggy pink y-fronts turns out to be mor cheeky than geeky lures an audience member on stage to put his trousers on while feeding him biscuits. It is insane that he gets dressed while balancing on a unicycle.
Mikael Bres, the hot Frenchman, brings a whole new meaning to swinging on a lamp-post as he flies up and drops down so suddenly you’re left gasping. Along with Hugh Desmerais, they have total control of the audience with wicked flirtations that are just the right side of acceptable. Talking of which, please don’t attend if you are an easily offended Christian. Hugo Desmarais with his flowing locks and naked torso is a hilarious Jesus and apparently this is a world first aerial cross. You can imagine.
The MC invites the audience to feel free to walk in and out during the show, to buy drinks from the bar by the Christmas tree or just have a chat, but I didn’t see a single person leave their seat. Why would you? You wouldn’t want to miss a moment of the 120minutes of pure delight.