fringe: la soirée

la soirée - clockwise from top left... le gateau chocolat, mario, the english gents, ursula martinez, yulia pykhtina, david o'mer, captain frodo, mookyLa Soirée is the theatrical equivalent of a dégustation menu. Tiny portions of divine experiences are offered up for tasting, representing so many different flavours and the very best and most unusual items the performers have to offer.

So, like dégustation I'm going to divide my review up and talk about each separate course... errr, act.

But first, to the overall menu... there wasn't a single dud dish in the whole thing! Not one... they were all amazing in their own unique ways... which, I'll be honest, I really didn't expect!

I totally thought there were going to be parts of it that were rubbish. Fortunately I was very, very glad to be completely wrong about that.

And given the size of the stage (tiny!) and the fact that I was sitting in the front row, the whole thing felt incredibly intimate... just me, La Soirée and a couple of hundred strangers.

Le Gateau Chocolat - Operatic Drag Diva Goddess

Sometimes it's good to start the meal with dessert, and Le Gateau Chocolat is one hell of a dessert.

When I got home after the show I still had red glitter and the smell of Le Gateau on my lips after he snogged me in front of a room full of strangers... naughty Le Gateau... (do it again, do it again!)...

And as I said last year...

"That deep, warm, powerful, comforting, beautiful, liquid velvet voice that wraps around you like so much gold sequinned lyrca!"

That voice still amazes me, and his bubbly, mischievous stage persona and his interactions with the audience are a joy to watch.

I think I was a little spoilt having seen him in his own show last year... and even though he had three or four numbers, I just wanted more, more, more!

The only minor hiccup was the fact that where I was sitting the backing music was very loud and did drown out some of the quieter moments in one of his numbers.

The English Gents - Amazing Feats of Acrobatic Skill with a Stiff Upper Lip

Denis Lock and Hamish McCann are two very English gentlemen, all bowler hats and brollies and three piece suits... they also happen to be two of the most amazing acrobats I've ever seen. The suits actually mask how incredible their bodies are, but fortunately those don't last and you get to see them in pretty much all of their Union Flag clad glory.

But as amazing as these two are together... they're equally amazing apart.

McCann did a Singing In The Rain inspired number that literally had me staring in disbelief in between all the clapping and hollering.

Half of the time he looked as though he was flying or levitating or something... once again the whole thing looked almost effortless and was incredibly beautiful. I really didn't want it to end!

Lock's Mikado-style chair balancing routine was equally astonishing, watching him climb higher and higher and higher and still be able to include little moments of character while he's almost at the top of the tent.


Mario - Queen of the Circus

Mario's two favourite things are, very obviously, Mario and the music of Queen... and possibly black leather.

And as well as being a gifted comedian, Mario is also a hell of a juggler and unicyclist.


Captain Frodo - The Amazing Rubber Man

The official name for what Captain Frodo has is hypermobility... but it’s just good old fashioned double-jointedness.

And it's freaky! And I say this as someone who has hypermobile metacarpophalangeal joints to a certain degree...

But watching someone fold, dislocate and otherwise contort themselves to fit through two stringless tennis rackets is a hell of a thing.

And Frodo is adept at making it look like the whole thing is turning into a total disaster, even though he's really in control of pretty much everything. I don't think one of the guys on the other side of the stage had quite worked that out though, he seemed convinced that Frodo was going to break his neck at any second.

What I really loved about Frodo's second number was the little speech he gives at the end about after seeing how strange the things are that La Soiree does to earn a living, maybe those ideas the audience may have had about doing something different with their lives don't seem so strange.

Mooky - Physical Comedy/Dramatic Superstar

Mooky is hilarious.

I think doubly so in this instance as the unsuspecting audience member she happened to drag up on stage with her to help her with her act just happened to be the Adelaide Fringe Director, Greg Clarke.

And I don't think it was a set up given her reaction after she asked him what he did for a living.

It did make it all extra funny though. And it was pretty damn funny to begin with.

Ursula Martinez - Striptease Prestidigitation

There are very few times that I have been so completely astounded about how a feat of prestidigitation is being performed as I was by Ms Martinez.

Of course that might have something to do with the fact that she ended up NAKED... not stage naked, but naked naked.... so clearly she was out of places to hide the little red square of fabric she was making vanish as more and more clothes came off.

I did work out how she was doing it at the last minute and that's only because I was in the front row and was really, really looking for it, but it's still incredibly impressive... and very naked.

Yulia Pykhtina - Mistress of the Hula Hoops

Yulia truly is the Mistress of the hula hoop, she never faltered for a single second, never dropped one, never had one go out of control.

And some of the things she did with them were amazing.

Plus she's absolutely gorgeous!

David O'Mer - The Boy In The Bath

If you took Soap and had someone perform it in your bathroom, that's possibly the kind of impact that David O'Mer's number had... on me at least.

I knew we were in for something a little intense when the ushers brought out long sheets of plastic to drape over the front row of the audience to that we didn't all end up saturated.

And then there was David, buff, gorgeous and dressed only in jeans, sliding into the bath and then launching himself over the crowd in dripping denim.

He's a master of the aerial straps, and wound himself up and down and spun and swung and dropped... and managed to be completely sexy and playful while doing it all!

Summing up...

This was originally going to be the final show I saw at this year's Fringe, but I sneaked another one in there at the last minute. But what a fantastic finale to my Fringe frenzy it would have been (maybe we'll just say that this was in fact the finale... and the show on Saturday is actually an encore!)...

I clapped, I hooted, I hollered myself a little bit hoarse... I snogged a big black operatic drag diva, had a very sexy man make me wet and had a thoroughly amazing time!

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