Tonight, La Clique opens at Underbelly at Depot Mayfield. The residency will be the acclaimed circus company’s Northern premiere, with its residencies usually taking place in Edinburgh and London. Ahead of the show’s opening – and its exclusive launch party next week, which we are thrilled to be attending – we were invited to a media preview day.
La Clique is located on the rooftop of Depot Mayfield. The show takes place in a beautiful 1920s Spiegeltent venue. A Spiegeltent is an original “mirror tent”, built in Belgium during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, designed as glamorous travelling entertainment venues.
The Spiegeltent offers multiple seating options – all with an excellent view of the central, circle stage and the alternative stage at the far side of the tent. Private booths for up to 8 adults are also available for the perfect group night out, each table coming with a bottle of Prosecco.
Alongside La Clique and the Spiegeltent, Underbelly will bring its signature summer pop-up experience with a beautiful outdoor bar and local street food traders, making it the perfect space for outdoor summer drinking and eating for pre and post-show.
The press preview was surprisingly but refreshingly lowkey. There were only a few of us. We could sit wherever. There was a brief introduction. Then we got to see four of the seven acts perform one of their performances (I believe they all have at least two).
The first act was Lj Marles, a scintillating aerialist. He performed his act two piece, which sees him perform to Beyoncé’s ‘Alien Superstar’ in a costume that fits right in with the Renaissance era (including killer high-heeled boots). Timely, right?
This is one of the most impressive aerial acts you’ll ever see, with Lj (spoiler) flying over the audience, who sit in the round.
The next to perform was Oscar Kaufmann, a native of Germany who does straps, crywheel and aerial. He performed his Flying Gentleman act. The number sees him perform on and with a hatstand, which is risen high above. Oscar removes items of clothing and hangs by a thread (not quite literally but almost!), all whilst navigating his way around the stand.
The penultimate performance came from Miranda Menzies, an aerialist and contortionist. I believe she is performing one of each at La Clique. We saw the latter. One of the most unique performances I have ever seen, it saw her perform with a ginormous red balloon.
Who needs 99 red balloons when you can just have one big one?
The performance begins with Miranda performing with the balloon before she sticks her head inside it and continues to contort her body – eventually sticking her entire upper body in the balloon!
The last to perform was cabaret singer Chastity Belt, who I previously saw at Party Like Gatsby presents Soirée Royale. She offered a roaring rendition of Hozier’s ‘Take Me to Church’ and the entire press corp was converted!
Chastity included a spoken word bridge which celebrated “sin”, a clear criticism of conservative religious folk but the sinners were made the focus. It’s brilliantly poetic, really. It ends with, “But the fact of the matter is, my loves, if someone doesn’t think it’s a sin then it’s probably not fucking worth doing it.”
Say it louder for the people in the back!
After the preview, I was offered the chance to speak with the cast. As much as I’d have love to speak to everybody, it was my birthday and I had places to be, people to see, food to eat, and cards to unseal (hopefully full of money!).
I chose to interview Lj Marles because he’s the physical embodiment of “fabulous”. Check out the interview to find out more about this awe-inspiring, high-heeled aerialist.
La Clique runs at Depot Mayfield from May 25 to July 9. Stay tuned for our coverage of the exclusive launch party next week!