4.5 stars

Underbelly’s vaudeville cabaret show, La Clique has finally returned to London after ten years of coasting in Spiegeltents across UK, now offering a magnificent, jaw-dropping and titillating escapade. Bernie Dieter’s vivifying performance is somehow both salubrious and salacious, promising an unpredictable host of performances: some that you watch with wide eyes, and others through gaps in your fingers and goose bumps of awe. Lest be assured, it is impossible to look away.

A theatrical seduction, the wide and unique variety of acts is a thrilling watch. Ranging from sword swallowing, Cyr wheeling, aerial hair hanging to Kelly Wolfgramm’s rendition of “It Must Have Been Love”, La Clique has it all, and tuned to excellence. It is a joyous celebration of difference and oddity, with absolutely no doubt of skill. Stunned and marked by David Pereira’s unabashedly flexible performance with a shopping trolley and shaving cream or Heather Holliday emerging as a feisty dragon as she licks, eats and breathes fire, La Clique is the embodiment of erratic burlesque. Each act has its own character, each contributing to the success of this marvellous show.

The audience is encouraged to react and interact, and what better way to fully immerse yourself in the realm of eccentricity than with a glass of prosecco or two from the open bar. The show is split in two parts, with a short interval for boozy refills. But where the first act ends with the Famous Bath Boy, Stephen Williams’s jaunting aerial performance in “It’s a Man’s World”, it is difficult to top the act and make a comeback in part two.

In fact, the show ended all too soon after that, and part two remained unhinged and unmatched to the spectacle in part one. Albeit a balance in the order of acts is much needed, the set was beautiful and aesthetic, lighting: scintillating, live orchestra: flawless. With such a merry atmosphere, it is difficult not to linger and hope to be part of this regale for longer.

Cosily located in the middle of Leicester Square’s Christmas market, La Clique is a wonderfully diverse and festive break from the outside world, where you get a chance to experience extreme skill and passion like never before. So, cut loose, grab a seat and get comfortable because “darlings, the world is too full of shit” and sometimes a moment of erudite juggling is just the moment of respite you may need.