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La Clique Noel review at Festival Square Spiegeltent, Edinburgh – ‘turns up the heat’

The company of La clique Noel at Festival Square, Edinburgh. Photo: Ian Georgeson The company of La clique Noel at Festival Square, Edinburgh. Photo: Ian Georgeson
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Director David Bates brings La Clique, the mix of alternative burlesque and music he invented for the 2004 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, back to the city for the winter season.

La Clique is now more of a concept than a set troupe of artists, the eight Bates has assembled here bring a sense of ease to their performances. This is evident in Vicky Butterfly’s signature techno-light version of a Victorian butterfly striptease, Heather Holliday’s sword-swallowing and fire-eating and Leah Shelton’s finale, a dirty bump ’n’ grind performance of Hanky Panky, the handkerchief striptease originated by Ursula Martinez.

Shelton’s trio of turns – a hilariously choreographed legs-in-a-suitcase routine and a sensual but mostly athletic pole-dance – establish her as an artist with many elements to her performance. Aerial artist Tim Kriegler might not have the same range, but he makes up for this in sheer ability in a physically demanding and beautifully choreographed straps routine that draws gasps of admiration from the audience. Craig Reid’s old-fashioned strong man look as he performs an immaculate hoops routine is also a triumph.

Pacing and placement is always tricky in a show packed with headline acts. The second half stutters with a bizarre version of Goodbye Yellow Brick Road by Kelly Wolfgramm – but elsewhere her vocals light up the evening, accompanied by the La Clique Palais Orkestra.

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La Clique turns up the heat as it returns home to Edinburgh for winter