La Soirée, Aldwych Theatre

La Soiree 2017/2018
LJ Marles, La Soirée. Photo credit: Brinkhoff / Mogenburg

An international cabaret phenomenon, La Soirée has been seen for the last few years in places like the Spiegeltent at London Wonderground, but it makes the leap across the river to the West End and nails the landing.

For those unfamiliar, La Soirée (formerly known as La Clique) has been on the go for around a decade, and is a variety night, with no shortage of variety.  The sheer array of global talent on display is its main strength. For their West End run, the show covers bases from puppetry to acrobatics to comedy to cabaret-style musical numbers. And with each act nailing it, it’s hard not to find something to love.

Wisely reconfiguring the front third of the Aldwych Theatre stalls section into a more intimate thrust surround, and making use of the on-stage space for ‘posh’ seats (where audience interaction is practically guaranteed), the show nails its colours to the mast early on by stressing that the bar is open throughout and audience members are free to come and go as they please.

This light-hearted atmosphere extends to the show at large. Cabaret veteran Amy G makes multiple appearances, ranging from a rollerskating flamenco dancer looking for her guapo (hint: it could be you) to a kazoo number that’s as patriotic as it is anatomically impossible. Daredevil Chicken do things with a banana that have the audience gasping, then groaning and then just outright screaming.

As well as the comedy, there are physical acts on display, ranging from the skillful to the death-defying, with particular highlights including Michele Clark’s hula hoop display and The Chilly Brothers’ Russian Cradle set.

With an evening as varied as this, there is almost certainly something for everyone to enjoy here. While there may be a saturation point of the amount of times it’s possible to watch someone twirl in the air and be fully in awe of it in so short a time, the show is cleverly structured to just stay its welcome and no more. It may be a different prospect to the usual West End fare, but that is no bad thing. After all, you don’t make it to La Soirée without daring to be different.

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