La Soirée has opened in London after a three year absence and is back for only a few more weeks. It’s a big show, full of big and weird performances. The whole thing feels absurd and chaotic, veering from one unexpected turn to another. You’re not sure what you’re going to get, but you can’t wait to find out.
The performers in this slick cabaret are not examples of humanity in all its glory, rather it seems composed of all the kids who got bullied at school and made to feel different. Somehow this show that has been pushed on mainstream billboards and magazines across the capital is decidedly left-field. The freaks (apparent freaks) are throwing the party and they are having more fun than the cool kids, so you should think about joining them.
As Scotty The Blue Bunny says while bouncing on top of a huge balloon he then pops with his shiny posterior: “whatever was used against you – whatever part of your personality that held you back as a child – just might be what you get paid for when you’re all grown up.” A message that should be a part of the new school curriculum surely and wise words indeed from a big camp rabbit.
This show is a celebration of what people can do if they put their mind to it. There is some technical circus (aerial, juggling, acrobatics, hula hoop), burlesque, clowning, music – a great variety that means you are left reeling from what’s just gone, even as the next act has forced its way on to the stage. The whole thing hangs together with a cracking pace and comic presentation that is great fun. Acts reference each other – and add an extra layer of humour. A device that serves to make up for the lack of compere, unusual in this type of show.
A great example is Captain Frodo, whose contortion act sees him fold himself through various objects including a tennis racket while adopting the character of one of the 118 men – who disappeared from our consciousness about the time that everyone got a smart phone. It’s a choice that is yet again a bit weird, but instantly recognisable none the less.
Much of the show is slightly naughty, with many of the performers referencing sex in one form or another. Whether it’s a bawdy gender bending trapeze act, a re-reading of a Mills and Boon novel by Asher Treleaven or a song by Ursula Martinez calling for total sexual revolution. She later performs her signature magic act Hanky Panky, a routine that sees her gradually disrobe in order to prove that a red handkerchief has not been hidden up her sleeves; with no more clothes to remove, I’ll leave you to guess where the hanky finally ends up. An interesting point of reference here is that this act has become so famous; she actually licenses it out to 4 other female performers!
Part of what makes this show so fun is the consistently high level of performance. Marcus Monroe’s lightning fast juggling is all the more impressive for his ironic self aggrandising statements, he seems to chat up half the audience while showing off his skills. David and Fofo mix acrobatics and trapeze while firing ping pong balls across the stage into each other’s mouths. And Jess Love performers a highly technical multiple hula hoop routine all with a cheeky smile.
This show has been running (albeit with some different performers) now for 10 years; it’s travelled the globe, won numerous awards, and sold out month after month. Despite the fact that it’s weirder than most, it’s also really enjoyable. And unless you are the type that easily blushes, it’ll surely make you smile.
The show is punctuated by the one performer who doesn’t seem to be laughing. This is Puddles Pity Party, a giant sad white clown. His voice needs to be heard to be believed. Homework then is to check out his cover of either Hallelujah or Royals. You’ll be glad you did. And if you liked that, there is still time to get down to the South Bank to go and see the show.
Book tickets at www.la-soiree.com