The Story of La Soiree

After a very “difficult” train ride to London Waterloo and a disappointing sausage bun (no ketchup!) at Starbucks, I was ready to rain on someone’s parade. A threatening rain cloud had chased me from Crawley and the odd raindrop spat at the wonderful beauty spot decorating my chin. [Picture Grumpy Cat here] Visiting La Soiree‘s Spiegeltent, it was clearly the perfect timing to run away to join the circus.

Being an Olivier Award 2015 Winner for Best Entertainment, expectations were somewhat high. With eleven years of touring experience under their bejewelled belts, the rave reviews encouraged me to “roll up, roll up” into this gigantic wooden, stretched canvas and mirrored tent. Walking under what seemed to be Joseph’s Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, I was submerged into La Soiree‘s festivity – streams of colourful lighting, fairground music on repeat, waves of smoke, and rings of chairs around a surprising tiny stage.

Sitting in the third row ringside seats, we were slightly squished. Clutching the world’s largest pint of orange juice in hand, my talent was squeezing through knee gaps, removing one’s coat, tweeting “I’m here“, turning phone off, casting a reviewer’s wandering eye, flicking through a glossy A4 show programme and chatting to fellow bloggers. Once settled, the view was perfect for watching clenching muscles, bulging veins, wiggling tongues and escaping a few “evil” plans for audience participation (poor strangers – Chris, Hannah and David!).

Mario Queen of the Circus. Credit Hugo Glendenning

Cementing La Soiree with absolute joy was Clarke McFarlane, his “Mario: Queen of the Circus” was “a leather-bursting reincarnation of Freddie Mercury” and certainly had the gift of the gab. Who knew a juggler could do comedy? Juggling to the Queen’s Another One Bites the Dust, the routine was impressively timed to perfecto. At times, I even thought the balls were levitating and made of steel. Crowd surfing to the ultimate We Are The Champions, I yearned to touch Mario – I touched his foot! – as if he was Jesus…and to ensure his safety as he looped the gappy ring. I loved his wild child spirit and adored his enthusiasm as he was simply a firecracker to the stage.

Looking like a 118 118 man, contortionist Captain Frodo was a reincarnation of a snake and thought it would be funny to manipulate his body with the help of some tennis rackets and sprinkling confetti in celebration. This act clearly unsettled a few stomachs in the audience, but I was fascinated with the struggle over his nipple piercings. Muddling, twisting and battling with the microphone, it was a pretty awesome act – just not for the faint-hearted (quite literally!)

Watch out for Asher Treleaven’s “sexual gentleman” or predator! Naughty with words, “his unique blend of comedy, socially responsible rhetoric and overenthusiastic sexual patter” has flecks of comedy gold. Obsessed with Mills and Boon, his penetration upon literature was pretty hilarious, especially with hand and tongue gestures.

The perfect tribute to one of my favourite songs – Lana Del Rey’s Born To Die – was Bret Pfister‘s aerial hoop routine. Loving his unusual tattoos, his stunning shapes made you forget about the show’s silliness and grounded appreciation for ballet in mid-air. It’s always a honour to see a masculine form express such emotional torture.

Yammel Rodriguez. Image by Richard Blouin.jpg

The La Soiree’s ladies were all incredible. Yammel Rodriguez provided a beautiful routine on a suspended single strap in high heels. Think Chicago! Puffing on a Cuban cigar, she looked hot as she strutted towards the stage, blowing smoke in her wake.With a tuuuuuunnnnne of B*Witched’s C’est La Vie, Miss Frisky certainly had “one of the biggest voices”. Gulping down an audience member’s beer, this feisty diva had an essence of Lady Gaga, Florence Welch and Paloma Faith about her. Comedienne Mooky Cornish brought her character, Gloria, to a hysterical, slapstick mess on the stage, preying on a gentleman from the audience to read lines from her body and clothing. Melaine Chy brought her roaring, shiny motorbike with “an art of hand balancing” onto the small stage. It was intriguing to watch her glide across the vehicle, simply rotating on the power of her hand. Impressive!

The English Gents star in La Soiree. Image by Olivia Rutherford.jpg

If I could be really greedy and have two husbands – they would be The English Gents. Denis Lock and Hamish McCann are beautiful without in their bowler hats, dapper suits and ties…stuff it…check out their 6 or 7 or 8 or 9 or 10 packs! Every daring lift, their focus and strength was maximised whilst “sporting the stiffest of British upper lips”. I can’t deny the lifts were certainly more impressive in their Union Jack boxers as the eye could focus on the tensed human body, watching the arms, legs and stomach gain composure. Their quirky, humorous facial expressions and mannerisms – “casually puffing a pipe or reading the newspaper” – were fantastic as they sought balance and acknowledged the crowd by throwing their clothes at them.

Under extreme conditions, Denis Lock‘s experimentation with bubbles was fascinating. Think you’ve seen it all with bubble-blowing? Making a bubbled carousel and tier cake, my mouth dropped. Thanks to the darkness and Lock’s soothing narration, this act created a peaceful state of wonder. Respect to the bubble!

La Soiree provides an extremely enjoyable evening on the London Southbank, offering a fantastic variety of talent alongside a lively atmosphere. Shunning my bad vibes at the door, I was never bored or distracted from the stage. The energy from the cast never once flopped – they clearly love their jobs…well who wouldn’t?! I caught their infectious smiles as I left for the train station. I grinned – no delays. Thanks La Soiree!

La Soiree ends on 17 January 2016 so the perfect the Christmas treat or winter warmer, book here

Big thanks to Rebecca Felgate and Sammi O’Neill from Theatre Bloggers and Paul Goodman from The Corner Shop PR

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