La Clique at Underbelly Festival ★★★★★

La Clique returns to London – bare, face and cheek, the show has it all.

Most of us are only getting thrills from the nail-biting tension of opening our electricity bill, in what has become life in 2022, but fear not, La Clique is back to wow audiences in London again this summer.

Originally taking to the stage in 2004 as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the show now plays to jaw-dropping audiences all over the world, expertly delivering an entertaining mix of music, cabaret and circus, heightened with themes of humour and sexual prowess, and it still doesn’t disappoint. 

Arriving at the now familiar summer backdrop of the Underbelly Festival but returning for the second year to its swanky new W1 post code at Cavendish Square, La Clique’s famous use of a traditional early 20th-Century Spiegeltent is your first clue that you’re about to be swept away to totally different world for the evening, figuratively at least for most, literally for one lucky audience member.

© Scott Chalmers photography

Our first two performances, perfectly curated to bring excitement and a somewhat sexual start to the proceedings, no one shy of a nipple tassel (or two) would be looking anywhere but the floor as Miss Jolie Papillon warmed up our cockles with her feathers and sequined burlesque number, smoothly followed by an uptempo roller skating crowd-pleaser which took us back to the sound of the 90’s club scene.

Aerialists are quite possibly the most ‘Ooo and Ahh’ of any circus act, skillfully avoiding certain death as they remain suspended and then plummet from the heady heights above the stage, all whilst navigating a single rope or pair of ribbons with almost a coy grin to us all as if to say it is so easy that any of us could pop up and try it ourselves if we fancied. DISCLAIMER: Don’t try this at home kids!

J’aiMime’s charming and clever portrayal of a couple on their first date, reaching first, second and all the way to fifth base left us all wanting more, as it was hard to believe she was fooling us all with only one head and two arms, but her show stopper was to arrive in Act 2 when she single handily defied the laws of what one person should be able to do with a life sized balloon. It really has to be seen to be believed!

The show closes with excitement and awe as Pierre and Stef – The Skating Willers III (presumably Willers I and II were sad victims of their own art) astonish us all with truly death-defying acrobatics whilst on roller skates, feet above the audience, spinning around and barely holding onto one another. I know what you’re thinking, just another commute to work, but truly this pair have skill, finesse and good looks to boot.

The star of the show has to go to LJ Marles though who quite simply left us all in shock, wonder and lust with what he performed. A skilled circus performer since the age of 17, he portrayed strength, masculinity, diversity and gender fluidity and that was only one of his acts. Entering to Lady Gaga’s hit single Applause and dressed like Beyoncé in her Formation video, whatever you’re about to do has to live up to expectation and what we were given was aerial artistic heaven.  The Recs has seen a lot of circus and cabaret shows all over the world and we can honestly say that this guy stands out above the rest. He is a star.

Now excuse us – if you want to know where The Recs will be, we’ll be booking into a flexibility and core strength class at the gym, before shopping for sequins and feathers. Oh, and booking another ticket to see ‘The Gang’ down at Cavendish Square.

Bare, face and cheek, it’s got it all! The Recs gives La Clique a tassel-twirling, gravity-defying ★★★★★ (5 stars). 


La Clique performs at the Underbelly Festival, Cavendish Square until 03 July.

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