They might not be the original late-night alt-cabaret (La Clique can lay claim to the circus-cabaret-vaudeville revival of the past ten years) but La Soirée are the next in line – the direct descendent of that show, in fact; and thus about as old-school as it gets in the proliferating market of Spiegeltent-style shows.
Back at their (currently annual) home in the Studio at Sydney Opera House, with a new line-up (no Captain Frodo; no Gateau Chocolat; no Mario Queen of the Circus), the La Soirée team really own the format: a slick line-up of short acts careening from comedy to sideshow freakery to acrobatics, aerial hijinx, cabaret-style crooning, sleight of hand – laced with louche and spiced with sex. This is the only show in town where you’ll see a fully nude woman pull a hanky out of her butt (Ursula Martinez and her famous disappearing hanky), or hear a song about licking pussy (Yana Alana’s immortal ditty ‘A Cat Has Nine Lives, But a Pussy Has One’).
This year’s line-up features an opening stand-up act from Queen Elizabeth (impressionist and comedian Gerry Connolly); party-starting renditions of P!nk and Thelma Houston; hoop-wrangling and skipping-rope from majorette Jess Love; acrobatics and ping-pong tomfoolery from the adorable Scandi duo David and Fofo; a down-and-dirty aerial routine to Nine Inch Nails by Jack-Daniels-sculling former US gymnastics champ Ryan McCarthy; an erotic aerial routine by Hugo and Katherine; a Bollywood dance number by Darwin’s Chooky Dancers; and musical comedy-cabaret from Ursula Martinez – strung together with sideshow interstitials by Miss Behave (“The thing about what I do is that it’s not so much wow as why?” she cracks).
You might like this year’s line-up more or less than previous ones (there’s no single big show-stopper or dominant personality) but you can’t argue with the overall package, which is irresistible fun, and kinda what you imagine Weimar cabaret clubs to have been like – in your wildest dreams. The La Soirée crew will sit on your lap, lick your head, scull your drink – and steal your heart.