La Clique at Leicester Square Spiegeltent
As the lights go down inside the Leicester Square Spiegeltent, contrasting with the shimmering Christmas decorations outside, the song The Show Must Go On booms. Hugo Desmarais is drenched in a dramatic entrance, which oscillates between amusing ostentation and sexiness, as he voluptuously takes off his jacket to reveal a mesh shirt (that is also, eventually, removed). And that’s when the acrobatics begin./ The tricks enrapture the audience with their fluidity and tension; the acrobat is suspended, moving through an aerial cage, maintaining elegance amid the effort. It’s a polished initial act, perfectly encapsulating the essence of La Clique.
Born in Edinburgh, travelling the world and now returning to the West End after the lockdown hiatus, the show is a splendid crossover of circus and cabaret. In the centre is a circular stage, barely three metres in diameter, a restricted space where the majority of the performances happen. The numbers, though, never require more than two people, and it’s this intimacy and the close proximity with the audience that renders the setting more like a piano bar than a huge circus tent. It’s a cosy atmosphere that wins.
Bernie Dieter is the mistress of ceremonies and undoubtedly one of the stars of the night. With dissolute humour and a powerful voice, she doesn’t simply fill the pauses and hold attention for the next scene, but leads the evening with authority.
Few acts do not really tick the boxes of originality and sensationalism, rather feeling included for the sake of variety and the addition of some cheekiness. On the other hand, there are segments that are impressive indeed, such as Craig Reid’s, as the Hula Boy, whose costumes playfully disguise the skills of the man with the hoops. True teamwork is executed by Pierre and Steff, the Skating Willers III. Their spins and strong lifts are spellbinding. The gymnastic element may be relatively traditional, but the duo take into the modern day, instilling great energy. LJ Marles adds further memorable moments, gracefully sliding up and down the aerial straps.
In the background, special praise goes to La Clique Palais Orkestra, for their uninterrupted, lively musical accompaniment.
From saucy to comical, with virtuoso acrobatics to stylish presentation, La Clique delivers engaging sequences, with a varied tone. Aesthetically pleasing, fun and breathtaking, the production is the live entertainment we all need this winter.
La Clique is at Leicester Square Spiegeltent from 13th November until 8th January 2022. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.