Edinburgh cult hit La Clique will visit London for the first time this autumn when it will reopen Leicester Square’s historic Hippodrome as a public performance venue. The international burlesque cabaret opens on 10 October 2008 (previews from 2 October) at the Hippodrome, where it’s initially booking through 1 February 2009, with additional late-night weekend performances from 11 October.

According to promotional material, La Clique is “impossible to define and impossible to resist”, a mixture of cabaret, new burlesque, circus sideshow and contemporary variety. Its eclectic and ever-changing assortment of acts includes: Norwegian contortionist Captain Frodo; Spanish stripper Ursula Martinez; Germany’s David O’Mer (pictured), who has re-invented the pleasures of a nice soak in the tub; hula hoopist Yulia Pikhtina from Kiev; the English Gents performing their inconceivable feats of human strength and skill; London’s own PVC-clad fetishist Miss Behave; the puppets of Montreal’s Cabaret Decadanse; and New York alternative comedian and Freddy Mercury reincarnation Mario.

La Clique has performed seasons around the world including Sydney, Melbourne, Montreal, Dublin and New York in addition to regular summer stints at the Edinburgh Fringe, where it’s annually one of the hottest tickets at the festival.

First constructed by Frank Matcham in 1900 as a water circus, the Hippodrome’s early performances featured elephants, polar bears and sea lions which all frolicked in its 100,000-litre pool. A varied history has seen it operate as the location for one of Harry Houdini’s greatest escapes; and in the 1960s and 1970s, the stage was graced by the likes of Judy Garland, Shirley Bassey, Ethel Merman and The Temptations in its incarnation as the dinner-dance venue Talk of The Town. It was purchased in the early 1980s by Peter Stringfellow who turned it into a nightclub and returned it to its original name, the Hippodrome. Most recently, the venue has been used for private events only.

La Clique is produced in London by La Clique Productions, Mark Rubinstein and Mick Perrin.

- by Terri Paddock