La Clique Noel

Nov 24 2017 | By More

★★★☆☆    Spicy

Festival Square Spiegeltent: Fri 17 Nov 2017 – Sat 6 Jan 2018
Review by Hugh Simpson

Back in Edinburgh and back in a tent, La Clique serve up a disparate collection of acts that provide some real entertainment as well as some less satisfactory moments.

Despite the name, there is nothing Christmassy about the show, bar a couple of nods at either end. Otherwise, La Clique continue to occupy a niche of their own between the underground and the mainstream. A combination of cabaret, comedy and circus skills that gives a welcome place for those speciality acts now so unfairly ignored.

Heather Holliday in La Clique Noel Pic: Ian Georgeson

The combination of genres can make for an uneasy mixture. The desire to appeal to a Christmas-night-out crowd is added to the knowing campery of much of the contemporary burlesque and cabaret scenes. This leads to an inconsistency of tone in a production that, for all of its individual moments of brilliance, is never really at ease with itself.

This is definitely not a children’s show. There is nudity, and one act that probably should not be detailed here – not least because a description would sound much more exciting than the reality. Much of it is ‘adult entertainment’ as imagined by a thirteen-year-old boy – all winks, jokes and flashes of flesh. Not only does this detract from some of the skill on display, it is joyless and oddly sexless.

Heather Holliday’s defiantly old-school fire-eating and sword-swallowing would work just as well without the nudge-nudge elements, while Leah Shelton’s accomplished physical displays are not always enhanced by the knowing humour. Vicky Butterfly’s dancing is impressive but lacking in real magnetism.


There is, however, genuine joy not only in Craig Reid’s bravura hoop-twirling, but also in Scott Grabell’s thoroughly odd but diverting Blue Bunny, while the acrobatics of Tim Kriegler and Johnny Rey are gasp-inducing.

Craig the Incredible Hula Boy Pic: Ian Georgeson

The presentations of these routines are symptomatic of the odd tone of the evening, however. Kriegler is accompanied by a touching version of Nature Boy, while Rey’s routine suffers from a lumpen version of Purple Rain, complete with one of the more egregious examples of the tiresome guitar solos that punctuate the music.

Much of that music – from Dannie Bourne’s band – is sprightly and enjoyable, particularly some well executed swing and jump blues numbers. Some of it is intrusive and out of place. In a show that features a man in a bunny costume whose act is self-confessedly paper-thin, the oddest thing on display is still undoubtedly the otherwise excellent Kelly Wolfgramm ‘s torturously OTT rendition of Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.

Compere Bernie Dieter spends a little too much time using her abundant comic gifts on making audience members feel uneasy purely because she can, which sums up much of what is going on here. Awkwardly straddling two stools in appealing to both the well lubricated office-outing crowd and those who crave genuine artistry, there is too much geared towards the former – but there is certainly still enough to satisfy the latter.

Running time 1 hour 50 minutes including one interval
Festival Square Spiegeltent, Lothian Road, EH2 9SR
Friday 17 November 2017 – Saturday 6 January 2018
Daily at 8.00 pm; Fri 6.00 pm and 9.00 pm; Sat 5.00 pm and 8.00 pm
No performances Sun 26 Nov, 3, 10, 17, 24 Dec; Mon 25 Dec, 1 Jan
Information and tickets:

Scotty the Blue Bunny in La Clique Noel Pic Ian Georgeson


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  1. You Choose for Xmas : All Edinburgh | Jul 19 2018
  1. A must see when in Edinburgh. Absolutely superb show. A real mix of entertainment. Fantastic music, fantastic acts. Only disappointment was Scott Grabell “The Blue Bunny” in comparison to all of the other acts he had virtually no talent, fortunately his appearances were short and brief. Enjoyed the show so much would, like to go back but perhaps when the blue bunny makes an appearance next time that would be the best time to head to the bar for a light refreshment!!!

  2. Diana Connelly says:

    Tuesday 28 November 8pm
    What a fantastic show nothing like what I expected thoroughly enjoyed every minute. A must see in Edinburgh fantastic acts and a fantastic band with kelly wolfgramm singing WOW!! What a voice she has outstanding. We even enjoyed the blue bunny!!
    Bernie Dieter thank you for a very entertaining night from the silver fox and mrs silver fox xxxx

  3. stephen says:

    Agree with the main review. I reluctantly have to say I was disappointed by the show although, as the review makes clear, there are some good elements – overall there is too little artistry, imagination and certainly nothing new or wonderful.

    Having said all that if you haven’t seen anything similar and are organising an office night out its absolutely fine and may even be a mild hit.

  4. Simon says:

    Hit and Miss!

    I’ve seen the incredible Bernie Dieter in a few shows and she is absolutely WORLD CLASS! Every time she is on stage in this show you can feel the energy in the room change, however there is just not enough of her MCing the show and only has 1 song (the highlight of the show) Circus acts Tim Kriegler and the incredible Hula boy are brilliant, but the show is let down with inconsistencies in the other performers.

  5. DAVE says:

    Really enjoyed the show, but. Great circus skills taken to a new level, magician was very good and funny. Thought The Blue Bunny a waste of time and pointless. I think the audience was a bit short changed as the show missed out 2 of the advertised acts with no explanations so only lasted 1hr 30min so a bit of a rip off.