Tag Archives: la soiree

Shows to see before they close

If there’s one thing London theatre has taught me, it’s that there are not enough evenings in the week.  There are just too many good shows on in London at the moment – and due to some being on restricted runs, if you’re at a loose end in the next couple of weeks, here’s my list of shows that you REALLY need to see before they close:

Urinetown at the Apollo Theatre – final performance Saturday 10th January 2015
Even though I’m not a big one for musicals, this was my kinda show.  Deliciously dark and satirical, Urinetown has a strong story, good characters, infectious songs, some very timely political observations and a wry nod to the fact that this is a musical that knows it’s a musical.  Don’t let the name put you off – I adored it.  It’s been nominated in 7 categories in the upcoming What’s On Stage Awards, and for good reason.  I’m really hoping this gets a reprise later in 2015 – it deserves to.  But just in case it doesn’t, you’ve got  just under 3 weeks to do so.  If you need any more incentive, TKTS in Leicester Square are offering silly discounts on top price tickets.  Go before they change their minds.

The Knight of the Burning Pestle at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse – final performance Sunday 11th January 2015
Not only was this one of my highlights of early 2014, it’s back for the festive season.  Unashamedly silly and boisterous, TKOTBP left me grinning from ear to ear.  What’s more, most of the original cast are back, including Pauline McLynn (Mrs Doyle from Father Ted) and Phil Daniels.  This is also a great chance to see inside the beautiful candlelit Sam Wanamaker Playhouse – and that is worth the ticket price alone.

La Soiree at the Spiegeltent, Southbank – final performance Sunday 11th January 2015
If a night of deliciously grown-up naughtiness appeals to you, then head down to the opulent and cosy Spiegeltent for the saucy treat that is La Soiree.  From acrobats to contortionists to spangly camp, this assortment of curiosities will make you gasp and giggle.  Even the seats at the back are pretty close to the stage, so everyone gets a good view.  If you need any further persuasion, here’s my review from November.

Grimm Tales at the Bargehouse, Oxo Tower Wharf – final performance Sunday 15th February 2015
Once upon a time, fairytales had a slightly sinister streak – then the Disney machine came along and romanticised the stories and toned down the really scary bits.  But Philip Pullman has put the ‘grim’ back into the Grimm Tales.  This stunning and inventive adaptation invites audiences to wander through the forests and take in a story.  Some are more familiar than others and after the show has finished, you are free to wander through their frankly mindblowing set, and even take pictures.  A joy of a performance, suitable for everyone aged 8 and upwards.

La Soiree – Spiegeltent, Southbank

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.

The English Gents

The English Gents

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/