Wednesday, 9 December 2015

La Soiree on the Southbank

Last week we went to see the return of the cabaret-circus spectacular that is La Soiree in its spiegeltent on the Southbank. I first saw La Soiree a couple of years ago and was wowed by the show. The winning format is the same with non-stop action on the small stage in the middle of the tent, one act immediately following the previous act without a break. There are acrobats and hula hoops, comedy and contortionists, audience participation and bubbles. Yes, bubbles, but more of that later.

It was compered by Mario Queen of the Circus with his Freddie Mercury look-a-likey juggling, hoola-hooping and comedy act, ultimately crowd-surfing round the stage to 'We Will Rock You'. Another newby was Melanie Chy, the little tough girl on an enormous motorbike who balanced off the various bits of the bike in an amazing demonstration of skill and strength. Another great act was Captain Frodo who squeezed himself through two tennis rackets, falling over and off the stage mid-way through and throwing handfuls of confetti around. He was great fun!

It was also nice to see Asher Treleaven, the Sexualized Gentleman, again, particularly his unique reading of a Mills & Boon-type story that goes just that bit further spoken than it might do in print. He's very naughty.

Stars of the show were, of course, the English Gents in their pinstripe suits and bowler hats, with Denis Lock effortlessly lifting Hamish McCann in all sorts of ways, showing how well trained and strong they both are. And then comes the inevitable strip as they rip of their clothes to stand there in their union jack underwear and do some more startling lifting and balancing. The endless practicing that must go into their act - and probably no few stresses and sprains - is astonishing. How can they do that?

Hamish has his own act at the end of the show to the tune of 'Singing in the Rain' when he plays with the lamp-post, walking upwards in the air while holding onto the post, doing the splits along the length of the post and all sorts. I've seen the act before and it's still gob-smacking. What I hadn't seen was Denis's bubble act in which he delves into bubble magik, creating all sorts of astonishing sights, training the bubbles to do what he wants, even explode into flames at one point. I gave up wondering how he did it to wondering how on earth he had the idea for the act in the first place. It was really marvellous to see. The strong man taming fragile bubbles...

If you get the chance to see La Soiree over the festive season then do so - it really is a great fun show with lots of laughs as well as gasps of wonder. And the staff running the show are the friendliest I've met at any performance - well done folks!

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