Compared to other cirque/cabaret shows of late, La Soiree sticks to a fairly traditional structure using established performers who are well versed in doing the astonishing.

However, it features three amazing acts which have to be seen to be believed and justify the ticket price.

The English Gents start smartly dressed in pinstripe suits, collars and tie and bowler hats. They make feats of great strength and balance look easy and, as the clothes are shed, you see the superb muscles which power their act. Later, one returns as a pole performer who constantly defies gravity.

The discomfortingly awesome contortionist Captain Frodo is The Incredible Rubberman, previously seen here in 2007's La Clique. Your own body responds viscerally as he passes his body through the frames of two tennis racquets and later balances on a tower of tin cans with his feet tucked behind his head.


Then there's aerial hoop artist Bret Pfister - sure, supple and strong - and like quicksilver as he moves between poses, hanging from one ankle, hand, the back of his neck or suspended in the splits and spinning like a hurricane at the end of his five minute act.
These extraordinary cirque acts are interspersed with polished cabaret routines from established troopers who feature personality plus.

Miss Frisky is a blazingly red-headed chanteuse with a terrific voice and a series of shimmering golden gowns, always in the spotlight. Mario, Queen of the Circus is a Freddie Mercury tribute artist with unicycle skills which were definitely not in Freddie's repertoire, and a penchant for audience engagement.

Ursula Martinez is a brazen stripper with a magical red square of cloth, and she also sings with panache and a satirical touch. Asher Treleaven specialises in suggestive innuendo and dramatised delivery of an erotica tale. And the red-dressed in shiny vinyl Miss Behave swallows wine and sharp objects, and meanders through the audience to fill any gaps in the action.

Warning: There's lots of haze and very loud music. Ear plugs may be advisable.

What: Auckland Arts Festival - La Soiree
Where & when: Spiegeltent, Festival Garden, Aotea Square; until March 25