‘Fun & outrageous’: LA CLIQUE NOEL: PART DEUX – Edinburgh ★★★★

In Cabaret, Opinion, Regional theatre, Reviews, Scotland, Touring by Thom DibdinLeave a Comment

Festival Square Spiegeltent, Edinburgh – until 5 January 2019
Guest reviewer: Sarah Moyes

La Clique returns with an eclectic array of outrageous and magnificent circus cabaret to Edinburgh this festive season for Noel – Part Deux.

La Clique was born in Edinburgh at the Fringe in 2004 and last year made a mark on the Christmas scene in the capital. That being said, this isn’t a particularly festive show – unless you count the small Christmas tree that appears for a minute at the beginning and a few lines from a festive song at the end.

Bernie Dieter is back as La Clique’s mistress of mayhem – to guide the audience through two hours of the maddest of circus cabaret performers you’re likely to see this Christmas.

She is utterly fantastic at getting the crowed hyped up for the show. Her outrageous manner has the audience in stitches throughout, as she introduces the burlesque dancers, jugglers and magicians of La Clique family before they perform in front of the show’s live band Danie Bourne and La Clique Palace Orkestra.

Paul Zenon brings both comedy and magic to the proceedings, which he does well – even when the audience member he selected for his first trick forgot which card she had selected. As he points out, it’s harder to do magic in a venue that’s round and covered in mirrors, but he’s still able to leave the audience wondering how he has pulled off the routine.

Heather Holliday’s act is not really for the squeamish – she swallows swords and fire-eats her way through the show – but no one can argue that it isn’t incredible. She even manages to pull out from her bag of magic, a few unexpected items to swallow – which offers up a nice surprise to an act which could have been a little predictable.

Dieter’s own full spot as the first act closer is a highlight of the night. She scouts the audience for men before picking her favourites – shaven haven, beardy, and mega beard. Clambering on to them she then demands they rub her down – while the audience watches on in hysterics. During what can only be described as the least graceful lift ever performed, the men then carry her back onto the stage nearly dropping her as they do so.

Florian Brooks is a new addition to this year’s show and impresses with his elegant performance as he dances around the stage juggling bowling skittles. Which might seem rather simple, but each move in this old-fashioned routine is so in sync with the music that you could easily watch him all night.

Also making her La Clique debut is Mosh, a beautiful burlesque dancer from Moscow whose only flaw is being given such a short spot that we don’t get the chance to fully appreciate her.

Stephen Williams’ dance routine in the first act was a bit wobbly, but he redeems himself as he closes the show with an impressive aerial act. He swings around the ceiling on aerial ropes over a bath of water, splashing the audience as he spins and turns.

The Spiegeltent is the perfect venue for a show like this. The small central stage, surrounded by seating, provides an intimate setting so you feel up and close with the acts, yet it still has a very grand feel to it all.

La Clique might not be the most festive show in this year’s winter calendar, but it’s fun and outrageous with stunts that will have you on the edge of your seat. A truly entertaining extravaganza that deserves to be seen this Christmas.

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Thom Dibdin
Thom Dibdin has been reviewing and writing about theatre in Scotland since the last millennium. He is currently Scotland Correspondent for The Stage newspaper. In 2010, he founded AllEdinburghTheatre.com. The city's only dedicated theatre website, it covers all Edinburgh theatre year-round - and all theatre made in Edinburgh during EdFringe. Thom is passionate about quality in theatre criticism and is a member of the Critics' Awards for Theatre in Scotland. He tweets from @AllEdinTheatre and, personally, from @ThomDibdin.
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Thom Dibdin on FacebookThom Dibdin on Twitter
Thom Dibdin
Thom Dibdin has been reviewing and writing about theatre in Scotland since the last millennium. He is currently Scotland Correspondent for The Stage newspaper. In 2010, he founded AllEdinburghTheatre.com. The city's only dedicated theatre website, it covers all Edinburgh theatre year-round - and all theatre made in Edinburgh during EdFringe. Thom is passionate about quality in theatre criticism and is a member of the Critics' Awards for Theatre in Scotland. He tweets from @AllEdinTheatre and, personally, from @ThomDibdin.