Having been a huge fan of the troupe that brings La Clique to the Fringe since I first saw them back in 2009, I once again couldn’t wait to get into that tent and share the experience with my sister (a first time Fringer). But this year it seemed they were lacking a certain je ne sais quoi. For a start the venue itself was a problem. The circular circus top tent was beautiful as always, though they had seen fit to remove the centre circle stage and opted to perform on ground level. This was hugely problematic for the rows of chairs that were also on floor, who missed out on a lot of the various entertainers’ performances simply because they couldn’t see what they were doing. There were moments that were almost awkward when acts waited for applause that didn’t come because audience members couldn’t see what had just happened on stage.
The comedy element of the show also seemed to be missing this year, and the glitz and glamour that you come to expect from this show was just not quite there (or maybe it was, I just couldn’t see it from where I was sitting!). The acts themselves, bringing their usual array of live music, circus tricks, magic and burlesque were of course done to the highest standard, amazing the audience with their unusual skills and showing off bodies that looked as if they’d been carved by the hand of Michelangelo himself. But the atmosphere wasn’t as hyped up, and without an MC to guide us through the show as it had in previous years the audience weren’t as involved with what was happening on stage, much to the detriment of the show.
All in all, I would say that if you had never seen the show before and had no expectations (as was the position of my sister), you will not fail to be amazed. I however have become so used to the show being one of the Fringe’s most sought after and highly regarded shows, that I couldn’t help but feel a little bit disappointed.