Written for TheatreFix
An impressively sized new location just behind the National Theatre, the South Bank Big Top is home to La Soirée. This circus show, put together by the creative team behind La Clique, is an evening of sheer spectacle, awesome entertainment and guilty indulgence.
With two large bar areas, popcorn and ringside seats, La Soirée is a proper circus experience. Although the performance area is smaller than you may perhaps imagine, it’s utilised well and the audience is able to be within (sometimes quite literal) spitting distance of the acts. The show is hosted by Miss Behave, who provides both a focal point of deviousness and disbelief. Pushing a table leg through a hole in her tongue, she’ll make you both smile and squirm.
There’s hula-hooping and plenty of trapeze acts in various guises. Performers like the English Gents and David O’mer are undoubtedly geared more towards female members of the audience; when the going gets tough, they resort to losing most of their clothes in order to polish off their routines. This is not to do a disservice to their aerial and gymnastic feats, however. You’re unlikely to see a copy of the Financial Times placed in such a precarious situation, or a bathtub used so dextrously.
The oddest member of the line up is by far and away Captain Frodo. Otherwise known as ‘Rubber Boy’, Frodo provokes intrigue and disgust. He manipulates both his own body and the audience, as he exploits his double-jointedness to the max. Pulling weird and wonderful faces, and throwing confetti after every attempted stunt, Frodo really does have to be seen to be believed.
La Soirée is unpretentious, frivolous fun. It may not be high art, but if you’re looking for a bit of escapist magic then you can’t go far wrong.