Swinging back into London for a short season with some old and new acts, La Clique continues to offer a lesson in theatrical seduction. Essentially, this is an old-style variety event with added titillation, and the Queen is on hand in the form of Gerry Connolly to give her blessing. After years of snoozing through Royal Variety performances, I reckon she'd be beaming at Ursula Martinez's subversive piece of hanky-panky. Her witty striptease is still the show's highlight, and the infamous red handkerchief is neatly turned into a running joke.
Essentially, La Clique is a sly come-on, the kind of evening that proves while sex may be bad for one, and good for two, it is surprisingly enjoyable in a large crowd; particularly when, as at Saturday's late-night show, the crowd are really up for it. Perhaps there could be a little bit more emotional variety in the acts, which veer too far towards the comic. The phenomenal Meow Meow's cabaret turn is fun, but not quite seductive enough to be the cat's whiskers. It's left to Sam Alvarez to provide an erotic charge with an aerial act that uses chains instead of silks to suggest that desire is just another form of bondage.
The whole thing may be lightly done, but there is never any doubt about the level of skill. The Wau Wau Sisters behave with gum-chewing insouciance, but their fixed trapeze act is a model of co-operation, and while the Skating Willers' act is wrapped up in a naff showground aesthetic, somebody really would get hurt if they got it wrong. It's a great night out, and it's a pity that La Clique is just for Christmas.
Until 17 January. Box office: 0844 482 8008.
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Guardian: La Clique | Theatre review
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