I DEFY anyone to go to cabaret La Clique in London’s Leicester Square and not leave without a great big smile or a dollop of shaving foam on their attire courtesy of ‘splash it all over’ David Pereria. Unadulterated fun (for adults only). Two hours of laughs, music and marvel as the audience is treated to some breath-taking athleticism – all laced with a layer or three of sexual innuendo.
The cabaret, performed in The Famous Spiegeltent, is fun from start to finish – all held together by the marvellous mistress of ceremonies Bernie Dieter (seemingly sexed up to the nines) and the seductive voice of Kelly Wolfgramm and her supporting band. At times Dieter dives into the audience like a swallow to flirt and tease with men in the audience. At one stage, she asks ‘Beardy’, ‘Shaven Raven’, ‘Business Shirt’ and ‘50 Shades of Grey’ – four complete strangers – to stroke and hold her and then carry her back on stage. All outrageously funny (don’t go unless you are prepared to join in the fun). Especially when 50 Shades had no idea how to get Dieter’s high heels back on her feet as requested.
The performers are an eclectic bunch, ranging from the formal – and quite brilliant – Florian Brooks (who juggles an assortment of lemons, plates and glasses) to muscle bound Jamie Swan who emerges from an iron bath in tight fitting clingy jeans and proceeds to do extraordinary things with a couple of elastic ropes dangling from the tent’s top. Heart stopping, heart melting. Rippling muscles galore. All done to a barnstorming version of James Brown’s It’s a Man’s, Man’s, Man’s World delivered by Wolfgramm.
There’s head-turning fire eating and sword swallowing from Heather Holliday – I still can’t get my head around how she managed to accommodate a deadly looking scimitar – and miraculous things done inside a six foot hula hoop by Charlie Wheeler who strips off to the waist (no surprises there).
The diminutive and sinewy Pereira first comes on stage – dressed only in pants – to perform alongside a shopping trolley. The next time we see him, he’s covered in shaving cream and nothing else. Members (no pun intended) of the audience are asked him to join in the shave-in. It all gets rather messy.
Although the second half of La Clique feels too short and maybe one big act light (two shows have to be fitted in per night), we’re treated to Wolfgramm’s super rendition of the late great Kirsty MacColl’s There’s A Guy Works Down The Chip Shop Swears He’s Elvis – and a version of Roxette’s It Must Have Been Love (RIP Marie Fredriksson).
A great alternative night out for which David Bates, the show’s producer, should take great credit. A quarter of a century literally lugging The Famous Spiegeltent around the globe. Hat’s off to the great man. Here’s to another 25 years.
A final thought. Dieter ended the show by stating that La Clique ‘celebrated’ difference. It does indeed – a thought that resonated with the audience who burst into spontaneous applause. A sentiment all our politicians would be wise to take on board.
Give it a whirl and a twirl. Let me know if you don’t smile.
Other cast member are: Virginia Gay, Lydia Norman, Zoe Marshall and Leah Shelton (acts vary from performance to performance).