Cabaret, circus, comedy and performance art combine to create arguably two of the most surreal, risqué and entertaining hours you can currently spend in London, with the arrival of the bizarre La Clique at the Hippodrome.
Making audiences laugh, blush and gawp since its creation at the 2004 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, La Clique has since played 20 seasons across the globe with an ever-changing line-up of weird and wonderful, sexy and eccentric acts, picked up from all over the world during the company’s travels.
The newly opened Hippodrome is the perfect venue for the eclectic variety performance. The audience sits in the round surrounded by heavy red curtains, 50s style popcorn stands and chocolate fountains, with the surprisingly small stage in the centre. With the building originally inspired by a big top, it evokes the feel of being inside a classic circus with a new glamorous twist.
Acts vary from Montreal’s Cabaret Decadanse – two puppeteers with puppets with diva attitudes, made primarily from, it seems, giant slinkies – to Captain Frodo, a double jointed contortionist who happily dislocates joints and tangles body parts all for the audience’s viewing pleasure. The English Gents, two acrobats actually hailing from Australia, perform incredible feats of strength and balance while never failing to keep their upper lip stiff and their bowler hats spotless.
Comedy comes from Mario Queen of the circus, a Freddie Mercury look-alike who unicycles and juggles to his favourite Queen tracks, only slightly bitterly introducing the following act, David O’Mer, a gymnast who performs an aerial ballet routine with the use of a bath and some very wet jeans, and proves to be a very hard act to follow for the female section of the audience.
The women of the troupe include Yulia Pikhtina, who performs a hypnotic hula hooping routine, and Miss Behave, a PVC-clad, Betty Boop-esque sword-swallower who shocks with her ability to utilise her tongue piercing and steal audience members’ drinks. Lastly, Ursula Martinez, an actress and cabaret performer who can’t decide whether she is from Croydon or Spain, performs her cult striptease with a mysterious disappearing hanky which reappears from various unspeakable places.
La Clique has the feel of an old-fashioned variety performance with a new raucous and risqué edge. One strictly for adult entertainment, expect to be shocked, amused and feel in desperate need to find a new slightly more impressive party trick.