La Soiree, Spiegeltent Southbank, review: ‘Fabulous and uplifting’

The English Gents. Pictures: Sean Young

The English Gents. Pictures: Sean Young - Credit: Archant

While it could dig deeper, there’s plenty of jokes and acrobatic feats to enjoy in this circus-cum-cabaret, says Anna Behrmann.

Back in London for its sixth season, La Soirée is loud, seductive, rhythmic and fun.

Combining circus with cabaret, the performance artists jostle for attention; cracking jokes between acrobatic feats and swings on the trapeze.

The performers are talented, if not quite awe-inspiring. Denis Lock and Hamish McCann shine as “the English Gents” - strongmen who bend and pulse each other into the air at the same time as reading the FT and taking puffs on their pipes.

Even as the performers crack jokes, step outside the central ring of the circus, tease audience members and even recite from Mills and Boon novels, there are elements of mystery.

Trapeze artist Yammel Rodriguez is silent as she twirls and performs feats on a single strap high above the air, pausing only to smoke a Cuban cigar.

There are bright lights in orange, yellow, blue and red, with live cabaret music drumming the audience around the stage into wild applause.

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But the tricks that draw the largest gasps and sighs are the most childlike, performed by the brilliant Denis Lock with bubbles.

He delicately balances bubbles one on top of the other, and blows miniature soapy spheres around larger bubbles in a magical carousel.

Holding the audience mesmerised, Lock reminds us that “like a bubble, we should make the most of every fleeting moment we have.”

Perhaps this sense of whimsy could have been explored more, in what was altogether an up tempo performance, drawing on all the glamour of an upmarket circus.

We have the cabaret diva singing power ballads, but there could have been a troupe of sad clowns, or some darkness to contrast with the blinding lights.

A fabulous and uplifting performance, but there could have been more depth.

Rating: 4/5 stars