Internationally acclaimed variety show 'La Soirée' is seducing the Spiegeltent at Brisbane Festival this September during their first visit to the city.
These days, it seems a rarity to see a circus roll into town, leaving one to wonder what became of strong men, gravity-defying acrobats and folly-filled tents. But from September 8 to 29 Brisbane will have to wonder no more. 'La Soirée', the internationally-acclaimed, circus-cabaret-burlesque show has set up stumps at South Bank’s Spielgeltent. Complete with beguiling characters, endearing comedy acts and exciting acrobatics, the award-winning show is bewitching Brisbane audiences for the first time.
The show features acts such as acrobatic duo 'The English Gents', cabaret performer Ursula Martinez and contortionist Captain Frodo in what the show’s creative producer Brett Haylock describes as “a contemporary variety show” noting “it’s very sexy, it's very funny, it's dangerous.”
'La Soirée' originated as 'La Clique' in 2004, an entrant in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Nine years later, the show has been performed in countless cities, won multiple awards and re-introduced the world of the adult circus to audiences around the globe. “What the show did was reinvent the variety show for a whole new generation. So it just made it faster, sexier, funnier,” says Haylock. “It’s a big-hearted show, it’s generous of spirit, it’s really heart-warming. And that appeals to audiences in this day and age.”
And appeal it definitely does. The show has been touring almost non-stop for the entirety of its nine year existence, most recently notching up visits to Hamburg, Montreal and Chicago culminating in a stint at Darwin Festival where the show became the event’s highest-grossing feature ever.
“Darwin was amazing. There was some really genuine Northern Territory hospitality and it was great. Darwin had really never seen anything like it and I think they were kind of bemused but also took the whole company to heart.”
With so much time spent on the road, 'La Soirée' is in a perfect position to recruit new circus talent. “When we move to a new city, we like to invite local guests to come and guest with us. We never hold auditions or anything like that, we just kind of generally uncover new talent that way. Most of the performers all have a particular talent which ranges from new circus, cabaret, variety, vaudeville and then the show just mashes them together in a two hour spectacle.”
And some of that talent has even been scouted from our own shores. For popular comedic cabaret act, Jess Love, the next few weeks will be a homecoming. The performer originated from Brisbane, then worked with Circus Oz and The Burlesque Hour before gaining the attention of 'La Soirée'. And she is not the only one. “In fact the two men from 'The Two English Gents' in the show are actually, unbeknownst to the rest of the world, Australian.”
With so much homegrown talent incorporated into the program, what kind of reaction does Haylock expect from Brisbane audiences? “I don’t know, really, we shall wait and see. From our experience and having just played all through Europe through North America, the show has a universal appeal. I mean they’re performers playing in such an intimate environment. They’re extraordinary performers doing extraordinary things and it is all played on just a small 2.5m stage so you can see the whites of the performers eyes, you can see the muscles ripple, you can see every bead of perspiration. They’re working incredibly hard on stage and no matter where we play, audiences have responded to that.”
As the creative revelry of Brisbane Festival once again descends upon the river city, 'La Soirée' is sure to enliven the proceedings with its own brand of big top madness.
“We’re in a very fortunate position and it's great to be in that position where we can be very choosy about where we want to go and we love that. It’s been a great adventure for all of us and whilst it continues to remain interesting then we just keep the adventure going.”
'La Soirée' inhabits the Courier-Mail Spiegeltent during Brisbane Festival until September 29.