Burlesque and Cabaret Circus Fringe Variety

Fringe 2022: La Clique Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

‘La Clique’ is, in a word, enthralling. Having been to see one or two other circus-type cabaret shows at the Fringe, which were slightly disappointing, my expectations weren’t high upon arrival to the ‘La Clique’ Spiegeltent, and I didn’t expect to leave feeling particularly impressed. However, I was mistaken; born at the Fringe in 2004, ‘La Clique’ has evolved into a world-renowned show, and when I left Underbelly’s Circus Hub a little over an hour later, I felt astonished at both the capability of its performers and at how high-value and thrilling the whole show had been.

Nostalgic circus music and plushy red velvet curtains greet an audience arriving to ‘La Clique’, setting the tone for an evening of excitement and feeling transported to old-world circuses. But, once the acts begin, it is clear that ‘La Clique’ isn’t like the circuses of bygone days. Though there are the sorts of acts one might expect from a circus, such as acrobats, fire-eaters, sword-swallowers, and a Cyr-wheel performer, among others, each one has its own burlesque-related twist. Acrobats hang from their hair alone, the aerial silk performer wears thigh-high leather boots, and almost all of the performers strip down to their oh-so-glittery undies. A hearty splash of comedy mixed into the show keeps it light and fresh, as performers tease the audience and even bring them onto the stage to partake in various pranks. This humour is particularly embodied in the act of the delightfully mischievous unicyclist, Sam Goodburn, who laps the stage in his boxers, before re-dressing into a suit with the aid of an unsuspecting audience member, all the while never stepping down from his precarious perch.

La Clique

A variety of other twists and turns keep the show away from feeling stale or cliched, and the near-constant laughter, clapping, and loud cheering from the audience is evidence enough of the show’s reception. Gasps of awe can also be heard, as risk and the sense of danger is felt throughout ‘La Clique’. More than once, I felt my heart leap into my throat, as the performers balanced the fine line between impressive and downright-dangerous with their feats.

On the whole, particularly in comparison with other burlesque shows performing at the Fringe, ‘La Clique’ is an absolute blast; it is the ultimate blend of circus thrills, comedy, and cabaret. The costumes are extravagant, the music and light effects electrifying, and the audience enraptured. Be warned, however, because if you hadn’t already realised, the show is rather risqué. Carrying a 16+ rating, it contains nudity, a call for alcohol to be drunk, and plenty of sex appeal. For anyone looking for a fun, memorable evening of incredible tricks and first-class performances, a visit to ‘La Clique’ is a must.

La Cliqueis performing at Underbelly’s Circus Hub 18-21, 23-27 August at 19:35.

Images courtesy of Francesca Whitting (Underbelly), provided to The Student as press material.