Burlesque and the Circus had a Baby: La Soiree Review

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All images are from the La Soiree website.

It’s a rare evening where you can say you saw all of the below:

  • A naked magician pulling a handkerchief from her vagina
  • A Norwegian man named Frodo¬† in his underpants forcing himself through two tennis rackets
  • A German man in jeans taking a bath while doing gymnastics and reducing all females in the crowd to horny messes
  • A big, beautiful black man in drag singing opera

It’s a rare thing, but not an impossible thing. An evening at La Soiree is somewhere between a night at the circus, a bit of brazen burlesque, and a good old fashioned bit of theater in the round.

La Gateau Chocolat
The divinely talented Le Gateau Chocolat

Entering into the Opera House Theater you’re immediately assaulted by the sights, sounds, and smells that go hand in hand with the circus. Smoky air, loud and cheerful music, and bright lights dazzle as we filed to our seats and prepared for the show. Before too long the ringmaster is out to advise us all we should be as noisy and debauched as we want during the evening, and then he’s gone and we’re instead treated to some breathtakingly beautiful opera.

It sounds as if it’s coming from the PA, but soon we see that it’s actually La Gateau Chocolat in full viking diva drag. The contrast of his deep baritone and the improbably colorful outfit and wig sets the tone for the evening right away.

English gents acrobats
The very dapper English Gents

Not to be outdone, the first of many impressive gymnastic acts was out right after Chocolat’s sublime voice had faded. A pair of dapper English Gents provided the first female friendly eye candy of the night as they performed a number of stunts guaranteed to moisten panties and make the men in the audience feel like inferior specimens.

It only grew worse when God Save the Queen began to play and they stripped down to Union Jack underpants…

If the British lads had done their part to loosen legs amongst the females in attendance, Captain Frodo’s arrival hastily changed the tone. A wiry Norwegian man in nothing but underpants and a 1970s era tennis player’s headband.

rubber man frodo
Captain Frodo

Frodo’s charisma was magnetic, and he soon had the crowd eating out of the palm of his hand as he bumbled about stage launching handfuls of confetti into the air as he spellbound people with his freakish flexibility. I never would have thought a man forcing his body through two tennis rackets would be entertaining, but damned if my sides didn’t hurt after his performance.

Eye candy was certainly not in short supply for the females in attendance. The two British lads from earlier in the evening both returned for solo shows – one reinventing the pole dance to Feelin’ Good while his partner paid tribute to Japanese culture with a death-defying balancing chair act. And once again, both of them found excuses to strip down to their underpants.

david o'mer bath
The dreamy David O'Mer in his signature bath tub

The real treat for the girls in attendance came in the form of the night’s final act, a dreamy German who might even have had a few of the men in attendance questioning their heterosexuality in a teasing, seamless acrobatic performance centered around bathing in a pair of skin tight leather jeans. The squeals from the ladies threatened to cause ear drums to rupture and as the announcer had warned us – there wouldn’t be a dry seat in the house.

I doubt that was purely a result of the water cascading off of David O’mer’s dark hair or chiseled abs, either…

Yulia Pkhtina hula hoop woman
The exotic Yulia Pkhtina

The show wasn’t completely without eye candy for the men in attendance, either. The aforementioned naked magician introduced herself in full business attire and quickly underwhelmed the audience by making a handkerchief disappear. The true point of her act became apparent as she began to remove articles of clothing with each successive disappearance – removing hiding places for the bright red hankie as her act went on.

Soon enough she was stark naked in the centre of the ring and still somehow managed to make the handkerchief disappear before reaching between her legs and bringing down the house by finding it there. The sexy and irreverant Ursula Martinez would return later in the evening to teach rudimentary Spanish.

The lovely Yulia Pykhtina’s hula hoop act was another nice bit of transfixing performance for the men in attendance, but the show definitely provided a bit more ‘bang’ for the girls in the audience. To La Soiree’s credit, the bulk of the audience did tend towards the fairer sex.

Bret Pfister
Bret Pfister's death-defying hoop act was another highlight

I went to La Soiree not having any idea what to expect from the performance. The marriage of burlesque and circus is definitely not something new, but La Soiree does it with a wonderfully irreverant style that was infectious. By night’s end you felt like you weren’t just watching a show, but watching friends performing for your amusement.

Whether it was La Gateau Chocolat’s breath-takingly personal rendition of Radiohead’s Creep swaying your heart, Gerry Connolly’s spot on impression of the Queen, or Captain Frodo taking a moment (while perched atop a pyramid of tin cans) to ask us all to follow our dreams, the show went beyond simple entertainment and aimed to move its audience as well. It was money entirely well spent.

La Soiree is currently showing at the Sydney Opera House with mezzanine tickets starting at $65. The show will then move to Adelaide for four nights in March.

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