My Mum has been on at me to see La Soiree for about 4 years. So when I heard it was coming back to the Southbank for a limited run, I was determined to get a group together to go and see it. So you can imagine my excitement when the chance came up to go with new friends, the #LDNTheatreBloggers. Even on a miserable drizzly November evening, the Spiegeltent is warm and inviting, with old fashioned circus-style music seeming to pour out of the red draped ceiling. The ‘big top’ isn’t all that big, so even the booths right at the back aren’t too far from the central stage.
Given all the hype of acrobats, burlesque and saucy mischief, it didn’t start quite how I expected. Our opener was the Puddles Pity Party, a rather morose pierrot-style clown. He appeared a few times through the evening, adding a bit of shade to all the light. But we were soon onto the act my Mum had told me about: The English Gents. Defying what should be possible for the human body under the laws of physics, I can only assume that they’ve done away with their skeletons and replaced their tendons with bubblegum – acts of strength, balance and flexibility are made to look terrifyingly easy. But under their pinstripe suits, they have muscles on their muscles. We were also treated to Hamish’s incredible pole act. Be prepared to scoop your jaw off the floor. Several times.
Ramping up the wow-factor is the infectiously adorable Jess Love. She skilfully whirls around in a blur of hoops and works magic with a skipping rope, bringing a little bit of feel-good vaudeville every time she appears on the stage. One of my favourite acts of the evening had to be Scotty the Blue Bunny – he looks like a spangly turquoise Slush Puppie in acrylic stripper heels and he gleefully cavorts around the stage, telling stories and bursting balloons.
La Soiree brands itself as a cabaret of misfits, but this does mean that the show is a bit jumbled. While all the acts are all of a very high standard, some appealed to me more than others. With all of the acts on a rota (which seems to be a closely guarded secret), it’s anyone’s guess who you’ll get to see. A quick skim through the programme gave me a good overview of all the things I’d missed! But saying that, there were plenty of acts in the same vein. Everything from life-threatening juggling to geeky contortionism to hilariously smutty filth, with little let-up in between. Until I saw Ursula Martinez, I didn’t realise quite how well I “speaka Spaaaanish” – or quite how many dirty words I knew (in Spanish). For those of a prudish disposition, perhaps this isn’t the show for you…
All in all, this is a night of deliciously grown-up naughtiness – a great antidote to the gloomy autumn weather.
La Soiree is on until Sunday 11th January 2015 at Spiegeltent, London Wonderground, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, SE1 8XX. Contains strong language and nudity – not suitable for children. For tickets and more information, go to http://www.la-soiree.com/