Skip to main content

La Clique Noel

Festival Square Spiegeltent, Edinburgh
Four stars

This seasonal variation on the nouveau cabaret sensation sired in the after-hours sleaze of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe begins with a Christmas carol. Given the choice is O Come All Ye Faithful, the candle-sporting troupe of dressed-up turns may have other things on their mind.

Running as part of London-based producers Underbelly's take on Edinburgh's Christmas, it's a welcome return to La Clique, hosted with lascivious charm by divine Kit Kat club refugee Bernie Dieter. The parade of acts that follow rattle through assorted bite-size spectacles of excess.

Vicky Butterfly swishes into erotic life with a languid burlesque routine that gets back to nature on several levels. Leah Shelton is delivered onstage in a brightly coloured hold-all, from which her legs run through an equally decorative routine. Teen dream Tim Kriegler transforms aerialism into an artform beyond pure physical spectacle. Heather Holliday shows off her mouth-watering sword-swallowing skills, and Johnny Rey pole-dances to Prince. Scotty the Blue Bunny is camper than Bugs, and Craig Reid is a moustache-twirling strongman with a fetish for hula hoops

On one level, the night resembles an old-school working men's club cabaret reinvented for hipsters and populated by carny folk who look like extras from an early Tom Waits musical vignette. On another, there's a whiff of absurdist live art with a glam-tastic David Lynch inspired twist. Both elements are given bump, grind and a whole lot more besides by Dannie Bourne's hot-blowing six-piece band, with sassy vocalist Kelly Wolfgramm taking the piano for an urgent reinvention of Elton John's Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. The climax sees the faithful rewarded with something joyful and triumphant from a returning Leah Shelton. All of which makes for a night of nakedly festive frolics that you can't help but adore.

The Herald, November 27th 2017

ends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Futureproof 2017

Street Level Photoworks, Glasgow until February 4th 2018
Four stars

Now in its ninth year, Futureproof's showcase of recent graduate photographers from seven Scottish art schools and universities returns to its spiritual home at Street Level, with nineteen artists embracing photo essays, abstraction and constructed narratives. It is Karlyn Marshall's Willies, Beuys and Me that grabs you first. Tucked in a corner, this depiction of a woman impersonating iconic artist Joseph Beuys says much about gender stereotyping, and recalls Manfred Karge's play, Man to Man, in which a German woman took on her dead husband's identity.

The personal and the political converge throughout. Ben Soedera's Foreign Sands contrasts natural resources and the constructed world. Gareth and Gavin Bragdon's The Bragdon Brothers moves onto the carnivalesque streets of Edinburgh. Kieran Delaney's Moments also looks at the apparently ordinary. Matthew Buick goes further afield, as tourists…

Bdy_Prts

Sneaky Pete’s, Edinburgh
Saturday December 2nd


It should probably come as no surprise that professional dancers are in the audience for the Edinburgh leg of this mini tour by spectral performance art/pop auteurs Bdy_Prts on the back of the release of their sublime debut album, The Invisible Hero. Beyond the music, the raison d’etre of Bdy_Prts’ dynamic duo of Jill O'Sullivan and Jenny Reeve, after all, is a flamboyantly costumed display of kinetic physical jerks and modernist shape-throwing to illustrate a set of fizzing machine-age chorales.

In this sense, the Bdy_Prts live experience is several works of art for the price of one that's a long way from the pair's formative work fronting Sparrow and the Workshop (O'Sullivan) and Strike the Colours (Reeve). Part living sculptures, part Bloomsbury Group super-heroines, part widescreen pop fabulists, O'Sullivan and Reeve paint their faces with ancient symbols and sport customised shoulder pads that look both seasonally …

Ceildh

Tron Theatre, Glasgow Three stars
One kiss is all it takes for everyone to understand each other in Catriona Lexy Campbell and Mairi Sine Campbell’s new play. Linguistically that is, as ancient and modern are brought to rollickingly intimate life by the Gaelic-based Theatre Gu Leor (Theatre Galore) company in the Tron’s Vic Bar en route to an extensive cross-Scotland tour. The set-up is the sort of ghastly tartan-draped corporate function whose perma-grinning hostess Lisa makes bogus claims of preserving culture while blatantly intent on flogging it off to the highest bidder. Think McWetherspoon by way of Trumpageddon.
With the audience ushered into a cabaret table arrangement by Lisa’s step-daughter Eilidh and serenaded by Eddie’s oh-so-couthy accordion playing, the dirt from Harris is unearthed along with a bottle of David Beckham-branded whisky. This causes the corporate shindig to be disrupted on an epic scale by seventeenth century poet Mairi Ruadh. Which is when both the kissing an…