If Avenue Q is best described as an 18 certificate version of Sesame Street, then La Clique is just like the circus, albeit reconceived for an adult audience. After a highly successful 9 month run at the Hippodrome near Leicester Square, including winning the Best Entertainment Olivier Award, and then a world tour, La Clique has returned to London for an 8 week season at the Roundhouse in Camden: not bad for a show which has its beginnings at the Edinburgh Fringe.
Described as a “heady cocktail of cabaret, new burlesque, circus sideshow and contemporary variety”, what makes La Clique unique is that no two shows are the same. They have a rotating roster of entertainers and performers with a variety of tricks and stunts which ensures each evening has its own special spin. It is set up like a circus in the round, with various options for seating in different rings: chairs at ringside, cabaret tables with waitress service, standing, and of course, regular seats, which means you can pick what kind of evening you would like to have, a nice touch.
And so to the show: it is a rapid-fire collection of turns ranging from acrobatics, illusions, songs and insane roller-skating antics. Highlights for me were Carl-Einar Häckner’s hysterical Swedish illusionist who had me in tears of laughter each time he came on, Ursula Martinez’s highly revealing striptease with disappearing handkerchief and the incredible roller-skating acrobatics of the Skating Willers which quite literally needs to be seen to be believed. Incidentally, having never seen any kind of nudity on stage until the weekend, 2 of the last 3 shows I’ve seen have now stolen my innocence from me!
The changes between the acts were seamless, big credit to the backstage crew for executing these with lightning speed and efficiency, and this helped to maintain the party atmosphere which permeated the entire venue from the moment the lights went down.
On a final note, if you have ringside seats, make sure you wear something washable! I was splattered with beer, bits of banana and even some blood, all in the name of entertainment, and even helped one performer, Mario Queen of the Show, to crowdsurf over our heads! It all added to what was a hugely enjoyable experience, and one which feels genuinely fresh and unique, but above all, good fun.