Review of La Soiree
Photos: Jess Love and her hula hoops (photo: Max Gordon)
Hamish McCann’s amazing pole act. (Photo: Prudence Upton_
Executive Producer Brett Haycock
Playhouse Theatre stage
Queensland Performing Arts Centre
Season: 7 to 24 May. Duration two hours ten minutes with interval.
Bookings: qpac.com.au or call 136 246
Following sell out seasons at last year’s Brisbane Festival, La Soirée returned to Brisbane to celebrate the ten-year anniversary of the troupe’s first show.
And what a rip-snorter of a show it was; it was a show that left the audience gasping with excitement or breathless with laughter as act after brilliant act added extras twists to classic circus routines and burlesque. Not to mention the sexy torch singing puppets and aerial striptease acts.
I had an absolute ball. I can honestly say that I enjoyed every act on view and for most of the time I sat with a permanent grin on my face or with my jaw dropping in awe.
On top of all the glitz, the seating experience itself was totally different for the production took place on the Playhouse stage. The cavernous space was transformed into an intimate salon-style circus space, with the audience seated ringside, stalls and, at the back, the bleachers. And there was a working bar!
As we took our spots in the ringside seats I was surprised to see the tiny, raised circular stage where all the on-ground action was to take place. It did not leave much room for mistakes, but then highly accomplished, slick and amazingly strong performers didn’t make any, well any that weren’t deliberate.
Montreal’s Cabaret Decadanse opened the show with simple but amazing puppet cabaret singers that were brought realistically to life by Serge Deslauriers and André-Anne Leblanc.
There were a couple of beautifully skilful clumsy performers who had the audience screaming with laughter. For instance Captain Frodo, who is the son of a famous Norse magician, was hilarious as the fell about the stage and even off it as he knocked over microphones and a stool while contorting his body into crazy positions to squeeze through a pair of tennis racquets. His second act performance was even weirder and just as funny.
Nate Cooper, chaos on roller skates, again had the audience screaming with laughter as he tap-danced drunkenly on wheels while threatening to juggle machetes.
More laughs came from Mario Queen of the Circus, the ultimate Queen fan in his Freddy Mercury leathers and moustache as he joked, juggled and brought the audience to its feet by insisting they sing along with We are the Champions. Then he trusted himself to be carried mosh pit style around the arena on the hands of the audience. That was well above the call of duty.
The “sexual gentleman” Asher Treleaven, showed why he is one of Australia’s most critically-acclaimed comedians. His patter was racy, sexual, and very, very funny as he teased the audience with words and his Diablo. Funniest part of the night was his reading from a “Mills and Boon:” romance. It was hilarious and rude enough to make E. L. James blush.
Tanya Gagné one half of New York’s burlesque duo, The Wau Wau Sisters came in dressed as a bloke and then proceeded climb onto the trapeze, do elaborate tricks and then strip down to an underwear clad, very much a woman.
Australian circus star Jess Love added new twist to hula hooping and did amazing tricks with a skipping rope while David and Fofo from Sweden spat ping pong balls at each other – and what is more caught them in their mouths and all the time doing balance and strength tricks.
But for maximum strength it was the English Gentlemen, Denis Lock and Hamish McCann who performed unbelievable feats of acrobatic skill, strength and balance, They also had the women cheering when they showed of ripped bodies and stripped down to union jack undies. Hamish McCann’s one-of-a-kind pole routine was more than amazing, It was one of the best acts of physical strength I have seen.
There was more for the girls as 'Bath Boy' with a combination of wet jeans and soaked body soared close to the audience spreading water and awe with his aerial.
It was an awesome, not to be forgotten night.
Mario gives himself up to the audience. Photo: Oliva Rutherford.