Theatre review: La Soiree at Spiegeltent Southbank

The Chooky Dancers. photo by SYC Studios

The Chooky Dancers. photo by SYC Studios - Credit: Archant

This year the intimate surroundings of the Southbank’s Spiegeltent are again host to the motley crew of acrobats, divas and contortionists who together make up La Soiree.

Celebrating their tenth anniversary since their beginnings at the Edinburgh Fringe, the performers give us a bit of everything: it’s a heady mix of vaudeville, variety, circus and burlesque.

The night kicked off with Puddles Pity Party, a towering giant of a clown with a golden voice. His moving rendition of Hallelujah had the audience mesmerised.

Then come the acrobatic antics of the two English Gents, Denis Lock and Hamish McCann. These two bowler hat and suit-wearing City guys bare near all as they perform extraordinary balancing feats whilst puffing a pipe and reading the Financial Times. The physical strength and sheer skill of these two was awe-inspiring, culminating with a balancing act which had one of the Gents doing a handstand on the other’s head.

Tanya Gayne, the Feather, half of NYC duo the Wau Wau sisters, then gave a fantastic mix of gender-bending burlesque and tricky trapeze.

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But the star of the show has to be the witty Ursula Martinez, first of all performing a mischievous striptease involving a red hanky, followed by a loquacious guitar number detailing her background - a girl hailing from Spain via Croydon.

There is also a contortionist who puts his elastic limbs through a picture frame and tennis racquet, a self-deprecating American who juggles razor sharp blades and a sleazy Australian comic who reads us Mills and Boon.

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The mirrored Spiegeltent is the perfect location for the high quality performance and the ringside seats give a close, personal experience.

This really is a fabulous couple of hours of fun with this “dysfunctional family” and it’s a perfect night out for the festive season. Don’t miss it.

Rating: 5/5 stars

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