La Clique

Reviewer's rating

This is not the first time that the circus has come to the West End.  Underbelly, with its big tent, is now a regular visitor to London’s Theatreland as well as the South Bank.  But each time there is something new and stunning to behold.  And this show really is a knock-out.  As the decadent German cabaret singer Bernie Dieter, who was our hostess for the evening, indelicately put it, “Viz so much s— going on out zere, how wunderbar to be having ze time of our lives in hier!

The troupe of circus artistes come onto the circular stage (I nearly said surrounded on all sides by the audience, but I stopped myself in time) one by one, or in pairs, in a succession of breathtaking performances.  My breath was certainly taken away.  I was in need of a drink in the well-stocked bar to calm me down, by the time the interval came along.  It would spoil it for you if I tried to describe the individual acts.  Come and see them for yourself.  You won’t be disappointed.  You will see things done with hula hoops that you would not have thought possible.  And I could hardly bear to look as the extremely attractive girl with (dragon?) tattoos swallowed swords and fire with equal gusto.

Oh dear, now I am describing individual acts.  Let me do just one more.  Did you ever see a 1958 American sci-fi/horror B-movie called The Blob?  A large jelly rolls along, absorbing anyone who wanders into its path, and growing as it feeds.  Well, one of the artistes last night was sucked into a large, pink, jelly-like shape, but fortunately emerged intact from the other side (except for most of her clothes, which the amorous gelatine had evidently managed to divest her of).  There, I told you this show is worth seeing.

But what I loved most of all was actually the band – La Clique Palais Orkestra, to give them their proper title.  They are brilliant musicians, whose driving rhythms really powered the physical feats on the stage.  And they did very good versions of well-known numbers like Steppenwolf’s Born to be Wild and the Beatles’ Come Together.  That’s what you should do – I mean, to this show!