La Clique

The Spiegeltent in Auckland, Auckland

05/03/2009 - 22/03/2009

Auckland Festival 2009

Production Details

La Clique

Part of the very fabric of The Famous Spiegeltent, this intoxicating show is an inspired mélange of cabaret, new burlesque, circus and contemporary vaudeville. La Clique is a celebration of the sensuality, danger, risk and unadulterated pleasure to be found in this mirrored hall of entertainment. Mesmerising, sexy, wild…

An early warning; La Clique is the smash hit of festivals around the world and every seat will be filled.

"A near-perfect cocktail of circus skill and cabaret innuendo, the risky and the risqué." The New Yorker

Presented in association with Spiegeltent International.
NOTE: R18. Some content may offend.


Thu5 Mar – Sun 22

The famous Spiegeltent
Prem Booth of 10 (book as a group) $650
Prem Booth Festival Friend (book as a group) $600
A Res* $55
A Res* Festival Friend $50
A Res* Concession $50
* General admission bookings

Fun provokes frenzy

Review by Nik Smythe 06th Mar 2009

The festival programme copy calls tells us La Clique is mesmerizing, sexy, wild…  Captivating certainly if not mesmerically entrancing; risqué and raunchy if not (entirely) erotic; but while the audience was stirred to what could for an Auckland audience be described as a frenzy, this crew is evidently in virtually complete control of what they are doing.

Adding to the mystique of La Clique is the lack of written credits.  Enthralled as I was, I made virtually no notes during the uplifting spectacle.  I don’t recall any names besides The Queen (who shares the same first name as The Pope…) and prima donna would-be Diva Meow Meow, if only because she had me on stage along with a handful of other fellows, lifting her up and attempting to form the shape of a swastika to perform her ‘political song’.

It’s all as mad as that. Said monarch The Queen, i.e. cross-dressing Elizabeth impersonator, opens proceedings with a royally hilarious welcoming monologue atop the piano, during which she expresses regret that her old acquaintance Tame Iti hadn’t been there to meet her at the airport (…I wondered whether that may have clashed with Iti’s rehearsals for MAU’s diametrically opposed Tempest: Without a Body which I had just finished watching across the square.)

Meow Meow’s sultry long suffering comedy cabaret stylings also offer world class laffs, as does comedy magician Paul something who amuses and amazes us with a number of impressive sleight-of hand based illusions, cracking the kind of jokes you hate yourself for laughing at all the while.  The petite dark juggler/acrobat fellow also wows us with his ability at high-speed ball bouncing coordination, also on the piano. 

Whilst still to my embarrassment not catching her name*, I was informed that the butterfly lady who dances in flowing glittery muslin balancing on a large silver ball before fanning thousands of multicoloured butterflies into the air, is in fact of kiwi origin.  Her second act, wearing nothing but a large stack of pearl necklaces on her voluptuous, naked body and lip-synching to that quintessential operatic power-pop ballad Total Eclipse of the Heart could have easily been shamefully self-indulgent but is somehow genuinely engaging, almost moving, with no hooks or gimmicks besides her nakedness.

There are three aerial acts, all highly entertaining and appropriately breathtaking.  The first are a pair of bogan slags in pink tiger-print tank tops and black panties with ‘fuck’ and ‘yeah’ printed respectively on the rump areas.  Their duo act on the static trapeze to the soundtrack of GnR’s Welcome to the Jungle while sculling beer, snorting speed and chugging on fags, is the finest such routine I have witnessed, indeed the only one.

The young lass in the yellow plastic Sandra-Dee wig and the telltale five o’clock shadow is a fine practitioner of the Spanish web, a hanging narrow length of soft cloth upon which (s)he nimbly climbs, swings, rolls, and twirls up, around and down. 

The final act involves a bath full of water, two hanging straps and an impossibly fit and handsome German fellow, another aerial artist who performs his routine while taking said bath in his jeans (ooh he’s a rebel)!  This act has the extra bonus experience of getting us splashed and sprayed as he repeatedly immerses himself and re-emerges for more startling airborne acrobatics.  The women were jelly and the men were jealous.

La Clique is not overly portentous, pretentious or smotheringly glamorous, it’s just fun.  If reading this has inspired you to go see it, you’ll be lucky as when I last checked yesterday it had all but sold out.  That’s what happens with world-class events like this. 

* The company’s website offers a set of performer profiles, just not those performing in the Auckland Festival this week… I did also find Meow Meow’s own site on my search


In Conversation

Visceral intellect: an oxymoron? Are Circus Oz and La Clique simply a series of incredible tricks, strung together with bawdy brilliance or is there something more? Join Spiegelmaestro David Bates and Circus Oz director David Ives to disentangle the visceral from the intellectual, in the subversive and satirical feasts of circus, vaudeville and cabaret. Chaired by Ben Crowder, co-founder and director of Theatre Stampede
When Fri 13 March, 12.30-1.30pm
Where The Famous Spiegeltent


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