La Clique extends at Hippodrome

Published November 20, 2008

Quirky variety show La Clique has extended its run at the Hippodrome until 19 April ahead of the Leicester Square venue’s proposed conversion into a casino.

A cult hit at the Edinburgh Festival, La Clique brought its mix of cabaret, burlesque, circus and contemporary variety to the Hippodrome in October this year, with an initial booking period to 1 February. The show’s two-month extension comes after “massive popular demand”, according to a statement.

La Clique’s ever-changing assortment of bizarre acts has included a Norwegian contortionist, a strip-artist, a Russian hula hoop expert, muppets from Montreal and London’s own PVC-clad Miss Behave. The show’s latest addition is cabaret singer Mikelangelo, otherwise known as the Bull of the Balkans, who sports a “thunderous baritone, deadpan delivery and pure animal charisma”.

La Clique’s arrival at the Hippodrome marked the first live performances in the historic venue for more than 20 years, but soon after the show opened a license was granted to developers United Leisure Gaming to convert the venue into a casino.

The Frank Matcham-designed Grade II listed building was constructed in 1900 as a circus venue and music hall, complete with a giant water pool where elephants starred in aquatic spectacles. Over the decades that followed the venue played host to revue, variety and cabaret, with a plethora of famous names gracing its stage, including Frank Sinatra and Shirley Bassey. In 1983 it was purchased by Peter Stringfellow, who turned it into a nightclub.

As yet no timescale has been confirmed for United Leisure Gaming to begin work on the Hippodrome. Talking to industry newspaper The Stage in October, La Clique’s co-producer Mark Rubinstein said: “We will probably be happy to stay here for more than a year and hopefully longer still, but clearly the sword of Damocles is hanging over us.”

CB

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