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Review: La Soiree (Spiegeltent, Leicester Square)

The off-beat circus troupe are back in the centre of London just in time for Christmas

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Satya Bella in La Soirée
© Brinkhoff-Moegenburg

Metres away from where it originally began in London at the Hippodrome Casino in 2008, La Soiree - Christmas in Leicester Square returns for another evening of grown-up cabaret, bringing the company's classic style of debauchery and mayhem to the plush Spiegeltent erected slap bang in the middle of Leicester Square.

Offering an enjoyable alternative to the slew of Christmas shows, audiences are treated to a blend of different acts. And what a concoction they are. Performers present a mix of skilful physical displays interspersed with occasional nudity and plenty of filthy humour. To go into too much detail would spoil the surprises but think circus on acid.

This year's show combines old favourites with new acts. The English Gents repeat their impressive strength act, performing whilst puffing on a pipe and reading The Financial Times, whilst burlesque trickster Ursula Martinez updates her segment with a witty post-Brexit song (think "goodbye paellas, hello umbrellas") as well as performing that hanky act. Just to note, Martinez is hanging up her hanky for good after this run so make sure to catch it whilst you can.

Contortionist Captain Frodo brings the laughs whilst an unexpected hit of the evening is Denis Lock's bubble act, providing a welcome break from the madness and reminding us of the charm La Soiree holds beneath all the swagger.

Hamish McCann's subversive "Singin' in the Rain" pole act goes down well alongside Satya Bella's colourful hula hoop act. Daredevil Chicken's bizarre turn as filler acts are strange to say the least - be warned if you are in the front row — you will come into very close contact with all sorts of flying bananas and waggling willies.

It isn't hard to see why La Soiree has trotted across five continents and performed everywhere from Sydney to New York. A great international cast combined with an abundance of skill and an invitation to fetch drinks from the bar during the show seems to equate to the perfect formula. This isn't the neatly-packaged machine of Cirque du Soleil but instead, it's a show with soul and a unique group of people bringing you the weird and the wonderful. For a production that revels in hands-over-your-eyes amazement, it's definitely worth donning the gold lamé, steeling the nerves and giving it a watch.

La Soiree runs at the Spiegeltent at Christmas in Leicester Square until 8 January.