10-30 Aug (not 16, 23), Times vary @ The Famous Spiegeltent
La Clique is a genuine Fringe legend, the show that spawned stars like Marawa the amazing, the Caesar Twins, and of course the Boy in the Bath. It is still much lamented and bound to be mentioned in every conversation of the incomparable Famous Spiegel Tent.
Smoke and Mirrors has now stepped in to fill the gap. “Hot-housed in the same boudoir as La Clique”, it is no surprise that this cabaret carnival plays to a packed house on its opening night. With iOTA (imagine a cross between the MC from Cabaret and Hedwig of Angry Inch fame) at the helm, this is a visually and aurally stunning experience – sometimes in every sense of the word!
There are some great acts here, with the vaudevillian tap dancer note-perfect, the seaside strong men both well characterised and physically impressive, and the chanteuse belting out a number which will take your breath away. Some of the other performances are a little weaker than one would expect in a show of this calibre, though all are enjoyable.
But it is with iOTA and the house band that the show really shines. It would be impossible to overstate just how good the music is – the songs are well written, iOTA has both a fabulous voice and stage presence enough for every performer in the Fringe, and the band are nothing short of awe-inspiring. These songs are not just music, they are theatre of the highest order.
The whole spectacle is immaculately lit with some of the best technical work to be seen on the Fringe, and the Spiegel Tent is of course the perfect venue. With the striped roof stretching overhead and iOTA imploring us to “F*** me into my happy place” whilst the band rages and two giant deranged white rabbits boogie frantically in the background, this is one circus anyone would want to run away with.