Review: La Clique
Image courtesy Underbelly
La Clique Palace Orkestra
Vocals: Kelly Wolfgramm
The multi-award winning La Clique returns to the West End, a decade on from winning the Best Entertainment Olivier Award for its season at the Leicester Square Hippodrome.
Born at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2004, this original and trailblazing Spiegeltent cabaret show has gone on to tour the globe to international acclaim and now returns to the beautiful Leicester Square Spiegeltent with a magnificent collection of extraordinary new artists and unmissable favourites.
Starring mistress of mayhem Bernie Dieter (Little Death Club) as MC, gentleman juggler Florian Brooks, the fire-breathing, sword-swallowing, side-show sensation Heather Holiday, iconic Bath Boy acrobat Stephen Williams and many more acts to be announced over the coming months.
Accompanying this stellar line up will be La Clique Palace Orkestra, the scintillating live house band featuring the astounding vocals of Kelly Wolfgramm.
La Clique is the alternative Christmas show featuring the crème de la crème of the worlds of circus, comedy, cabaret, subversive performance and contemporary Vaudeville - promising a night of laughs, gasps, naughtiness and the best in cheeky adult cabaret.
Recommended for over 16s.
Under 16s must be accompanied by a responsible adult.
The show contains adult content including strong language and nudity.
Real flame will be used in performances.
Leicester Square is now almost completely unrecognisable as it's 'normal' self, having been given a magical makeover to provide the festive atmos for 'Christmas In Leicester Square'.
Christmas market stalls find a place here (as they do now in almost every city at this time of year) but Underbelly's Spiegeltent is, perhaps, the star attraction.
Temporary venues - which appear almost instantaneously like plankton blooms in the festive season, or in the summer, have come a long way in the last few years.
Gone are the purgatorial days of draughty tents, overflowing loos, muddy walkways and all the other dire woes we used to endure in our search for entertainment.
In the Spiegeltent - where La Clique has taken up residence for this merriest of seasons - you'd be forgiven for thinking you were actually inside one of the West End's permanent theatres.
This temporary structure has been lavished with the kind of attention to detail that, quite simply, results in a top class venue - albeit one that will disappear in January once the annual revelries are over.
But there's plenty to revel in while the venue is the principal feature in this central West End location.
Once you're past the entrance, you're into a large bar area from which you access the Spiegeltent itself.
Though it does indeed have a ceiling that is tent-shaped, the resemblance pretty much ends there.
Seating is arranged all round the raised stage, with the very fine La Clique Palace Orkestra residing towards the back.
The award-winning format for La Clique is essentially cabaret comprising the heady, but hugely entertaining cocktail of music and speciality acts, some of which may (almost literally) take your breath away.
Bernie Dieter takes formidable charge of proceedings in her role as host-compere.
She's the kind of personality who might easily send a shiver of fear down the backs of the front rows as she works the audience and employs some of them as part of her routines.
But, hey, audience participation in its various guises is all part of the fun.
Her melodic vocals are augmented by similarly impressive notes from Kelly Wolfgramm whose powerful singing frequently provides musical accompaniment for the other acts.
Now I'm not going to give too much away about those since part of the fun of this format is the surprise element - but the line-up is impressively well-judged and well-balanced, providing ample variety.
And there are quite a number of surprises with plenty of admirable skill on offer right across the board, as well as strength from Stephen Williams splashing around in a cast iron bath.
Downright bravery also surfaces, especially from the likes of David Pereira (who reveals rather more than mere skill) and Heather Holliday delivering some jaw-dropping and, possibly, wince inducing moments.
You might baulk at shelling-out a tenner for a souvenir programme, but ticket prices are pretty competitive given the state of West End prices in general and the high quality facilities this temporary venue delivers.
And La Clique is a slick and polished cabaret that provides bags of undemanding yet totally enjoyable entertainment - just the ticket for teaming-up with relatives or your mates for a fun-packed and off-beat night out.
Links and related content
ActDrop listing for Spiegeltent
Our show listing for La Clique
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