Posts Tagged ‘darn good fun’

Review – La Soiree – South Bank Big Top (behind National Theatre)

November 25, 2010

Last Sunday I took advantage of the Metro‘s offer for half priced tickets and went to see La Soiree, a night of circus-style entertainment at a venue on the Southbank. I’d been to La Clique and loved it, and this was supposed to be the same thing-ish, only … well, mostly it seemed to be about the same lineup, but a different venue. This meant the return of balancing act The English Gents, sword-swallowing and latex-wearing Miss Behave, contortionist Captain Frodo, and the ever so yummy David O’Mer (notorious for the “bathtub” act).

The venue, however, was just gorgeous, a tent behind the National theater with a huge bar area (and very functional toilets) in the waiting area outside the main space, a second bar just the other side of the ticket takers, and then a glamorous mirrored “big top” area, with a circular stage surrounded 4/5ths by rows of chairs and this area rounded by a walkway with cozy little booths (probably big enough for six or even eight) all along the sides. There was also a space sort of at the “top” of the stage (furthest away from the bar entrance/exit) where there was a raised platform and then, on the level behind it more or less level with the booths, another little stage.

To my disappointment, the Sunday incarnation of La Soiree featured rather too much of my least favorite acts, the drag puppet mime “Cabaret Decadanse” (I think they were on three times) and Captain Frodo (who actually wholly repeated his show from before – the routine with the tennis rackets and then the one with the balancing buckets). The puppet singers I find boring, and Captain Frodo is just kind of gross and unsexy and has a stage presence that makes me … I don’t know, wish for it to be over. Goofy is just not what I come to La Soiree for.

However, we did get some magnificent balancing work from the English Gents, who were just as dapper (and ultra yummy outside of their pinstriped suits, and – even better – in a kimono!) as ever, and displayed the wit I remembered them for from my visit to La Clique. The audience was laughing and oohing and aahing and I felt very lucky to get to see them again.

My companion’s favorite act was “Mooky,” a curvaceous blonde who sort of put herself out as a bit of a stand-up, audience participation comedian. I don’t want to give away any of her act but we were all but falling out of our chairs. Once again, it was a rather thoughtful performance, rather than just being crass or comptetent-while-boring. I didn’t really buy into her stage persona but at the end I was sold by what she accomplished.

Rather more on the freak side was the “Spanish” singer and dancer (who’s stage name I’ve forgotten despite it being written inside his cape), who wound up at one point playing guitar ping-pong with the audience and then, later, juggling eggs – again, with members of the audience. This also had us on the edge of our seats, more or less with terror, but hey, we were certainly paying attention as things went flying every which way.

What’s sad, at the end of the day, is seeing just how many acts could have been performing – the really sexy Ursula Martinez (where did that hanky go?), people on roller skates, my beloved Miss Behave, and the rather enticing looking Le Gateau Chocolat (a “killer baritone” with “a penchant for being wrapped in body hugging lycra” per the program). There was really so much more we could have seen! Still, despite my whinges, my friend and I had an excellent time (aided by the liberal application of vodka), and my feeling, as I left, was much like it was for La Clique: I had really had such a good time and wanted to come back as soon as possible with as many friends of mine as I could get together, and then sit around, slug back drinks, and have a wonderful, sexy, clever, pulse-raising night out. La Soiree was great fun and if you like the things I like, this is a perfect evening to chase the winter blues away.

(This review is for a performance that took place on Sunday, November 14th, 2010.