Last time I saw La Soirée was in a spiegeltent, but this year the show has its West End debut in the refurbished Aldwych Theatre, it’s mini-circus ring taking the place of the conventional stage, and its ropes and harnesses, for multiple aerialists, suspended from the flies.
The show features a substantial bill of acts drawn from La Soirée’s repertoire (which may vary night by night). Chirpy comic Amy G pops up several times in a variety of frocks, showcasing her mischievous skills which are often employed on male members of the audience. Daredevil Chicken are a married double act, vulgar and dexterous at the same time (their routine with the banana was the funniest part of my night). Puppet masters Cabaret Decadanse’s large puppets are showstoppers (though a smaller one was lost to view). Otherwise, the acts are more conventional modern circus fare, though performed to the highest standard, and with a cast of impossibly gorgeous and finely muscled women and men. Symoné makes hula-hooping into an art-form, Mallakhamb India! do synchronized pole gymnastics with jaw-dropping grace, and Leon and Klodi could pour a cup of tea and make it erotic, never mind their acrobatic talents. And there’s more.
The show appeared to be settling in to its new environs – mics were set too low at times, and sight-lines not always great for floor-work – but on the whole, The Aldwych serves it well.
La Soirée is impressive and entertaining stuff, though, after the fourth act being exquisitely beautiful and very risky, one’s awe predictably lessens. The performers’ balance may be outstanding, but the balance of the show could be tweaked in favour of more comedy, and certainly some more singing (Oh, Puddles’ Pity Party, where are you now?). These are churlish quibbles though, for a spectacle that would be a treat for you and your grown-up friends this season (the kid-friendly version is also available).