Jolly good

DID I really see a man in a pin-striped suit doing a single-handed handstand on the head of a man reading The Times of London?

Or one of the same men extend his body rigidly from a lamp post and proceed to “climb” an imaginary set of stairs, in time to Singing in the Rain?

The English Gents (Denis Lock and Hamish McCann, who actually hail from Melbourne) performed at last year’s Royal Variety but long before that were wowing audiences at the 2008 and ’09 Fremantle Street Arts Festival.

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Their act, now even more honed and polished—as are their biceps—is back along with an amazing band of other performers in the internationally renowned La Soiree.

It’s a non-stop round of mad, funny, captivating, and at times shocking, acts which aptly demonstrate what the human body is capable of with feats of strength and agility defying common sense and the laws of gravity.

Gym membership for this troupe of men and women must cost a fortune—and just how many hours’ practice it takes to perfect a roller-skating routine that looks clumsy and out of control is anyone’s guess.

La Soiree

Captain Frodo had audience members wincing, dislocating shoulders to fit into impossible spaces and twisted his wrist in several 360-degree turns. Everyone shuddered and gasped when he “unscrewed” it again.

Bath Boy had elements of Mills and Boon in an act involving wet jeans, glistening muscles, a bathtub full of water and some very impressive circus rope routines.

And if the front couple of rows got a little damp (from the bathwater splashing—well, don’t you have a dirty mind) it was a hot night.

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• Photos supplied | by Viktor Wallstrom, Olivia Rutherford and Sean Young

A reading from a real Mills and Boons novel, with perfect comic timing and droll eyebrow raising had audiences screaming with laughter, and I’m sure some squirming with a little embarrassment.

Ursula Martinez’s striptease/magic act was mystifying. Just were did she hide that hanky when wearing nothing but a tan?

La Soiree has been touring the world for 10 years with its cocktail of jaw-dropping acrobats and contortionists in a mix of circus and vaudeville, performing to rave reviews as far afield as New York, London, Paris, Stockholm, Montreal Buenos Aires and Hamburg.

Although its been to every other Australian capital this is a first for WA.

“Now we finally get to show Perth audiences what all the fuss is about,” creative producer Brett Haylock says.

La Soiree, catch it before it closes on February 22, at the Pleasure Gardens, (Russell Square) in Northbridge. Tix at http://www.fringeworld.com.au 

by JENNY D’ANGER

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