Catch a breathtaking melée of burlesque, vaudeville and circus sideshow in this returning show.
‘Leave your troubles at the door!’ Brett Haylock, master of ceremonies and godfather of the ‘La Soirée’ family says as the gilded gates of the Spiegeltent close. ‘It’s Sunday at the end of what must have been big weekend for all of you’. He pauses, with a devilish grin. ‘So why stop now. The bar is over there’.
Haylock and his carousel of weird and wonderful circus and cabaret performers know how to party. They’ve been throwing the best shindigs since 2004 when ‘La Clique’ (‘La Soirée’s older sister) burst onto the Edinburgh fringe and inspired a thousand hearts to run off with the circus (myself included, I was going to get Ursula Martinez to teach me that trick she does with a silk hanky).
Now with a hundred imitators clamouring at their mirrored doors, they are still the mistresses of sexy, subversive circus. Haylock keeps his line ups fresh by importing new talent alongside crowd favourites like the fabulous Mario Queen of the Circus and the bonkers and bendy Captain Frodo. And while there’s undoubtedly a bit of padding to be had in the two hour show, there are some crackers from the newcomers too.
Mooky Cornish has the unenviable job of being resident clown in a programme where jugglers and contortionists raise more laughs than most stand ups. Cornish sensibly offers up something different. Her act – which involves a very badly performed ‘dramatic scene’ among other things – walks an impressive line between the hackneyed and the startlingly original. Her mental slapstick routine – I honestly can’t think how else to describe the side steps she psychologically creates – subverts our expectations as much as makes us giggle.
Of the other newbies, Asher Treleaven’s louche ‘sexual gentleman’ is brilliantly bawdy: at one point seducing the audience with his diablo – careful ladies – the next delighting in the ridiculousness of soft porn literature. Yammel Rodriguez and Hamish McCann meanwhile raise more than just eyebrows with sexually charged aerial and pole routines that get pulses racing.
But it’s Denis Lock’s delicate bubble routine that steals hearts and minds this time round. This quiet and gentle sequence marries technical know-how with poetic artistry and harks back to a time when the study of science still contained magic and mystery. Stunning.
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