Wednesday, December 7

La Clique – The Leicester Square Spiegeltent

La clique is wonderment, burlesque and excitement. It brings together popular music, extraordinary acrobatic movement and risqué entertainment all in one place. Before the show began, you could sense the enthusiasm and excitement ripe in the air. As the red curtains fall with the Guillaume Tell Overture, we dial back to a forgotten era of charm, poise and curiosity.

Clique revels in the forbidden with many classy acts, a burlesque Jesus, a unicyclist putting his clothes on the move, trapeze artists who spin in abandonment, anti-gravity-defying Chinese pole play, and a clown who balances four parasols are some of the magical acts that will leave you spellbound during the show.

Each performance bends prim and proper rules; drinking is encouraged in the tent with lots of popcorn and cheering. The artists also interact with the audience members invited to be sports and ‘yes and’ the hilarious acts on stage! The proximity of the stage to the audience adds to the sense of wow and amazement. The music is an excellent mix of memorable tunes and is choreographed perfectly to the acrobatic extravaganza. The lighting transforms the small stage into an expansive scintillating playground.

La clique is a slice of history, situated in Spiegeltent, a tent lavishly decorated with pieces of wood, mirrors, canvas and stained glass traditionally. Paradiso, an exceptional tent in Jugendstill stile, creates the perfect setting. Cabarets have been going strong since 1912 in England as an influential venue for high society, paving the way for the generation of nightclubs that came after it. In the 18th century, cabaret brought together the wealthy and famous with the Bohemians and artists searching for exotic experiences. It combined music and other entertainment with political commentary and satire. There is no overarching storyline across the acts, but each artist has you glued to your seat, cheering for more. La clique is not just a circus or a cabaret; it’s the coming together of renowned acts from Australia, Italy, France and Canada and to have it right here in London is an opportunity not to be missed.

With the reputation of “Burlesque Royalty”, Miss Jolie Papillon chooses to play with a feather and bathtub; need I say more?

Multifaceted Mikael Bres, a master at the Chinese Pole, proves he is lighter than a feather and has the audience gasping as he effortlessly climbs and jives. 

Katherine Arnold, a finalist on France Has Got Talent, does a soul-crushing portrayal of a harlequin with the ring, simultaneously making us feel moved and amazed.

Hugo Desmarais is a Canadian-born circus theatre artist, part of the original London cast of La Clique at London’s Roundhouse in 2009 and joins us from Disney Hongkong with his teasing piece only for sinners.

Chicago-born Ashley Stroud’s breath-taking rendition of ‘Diamonds are forever’ demonstrates how her voice cascades effortlessly down the tent.

Sam Goodburn is endearing. His act on the unicycle makes one giggle, laugh and connect with his goofy persona.

Umbrella foot juggling artist Tara Boom from Australia is the ultimate showstopper. If there is one image that will imprint on your brain forever, this will be the act, Don’t miss it. She effortlessly brings the clown and the burlesque to the stage.

La clique is the melting pot of these unique and inspiring artists and the support staff who bring in the props, clear the stage of popcorn and butter and serve drinks. One of the audience members screamed, ‘take it off ‘to Mikael Bres, playing with his jacket, and he asserted, ‘I do, whatever the fuck I want. I hope all the actors and actresses have similar assertions over their acts, bodies and costumes, with ample space to decompress before and after shows and pay to justify the adrenaline-pumping extravaganza they are putting up until January 2023.

Reviewer: Anisha Pucadyil

Reviewed: 15th November 2022

North West End UK Rating: ★★★★★