Club Swizzle at The Roundhouse: Review
We left Southbank's Spiegeltent in 2015 knowing that the image of Ursula Martinez pulling a handkerchief from her nether regions would be not be forgotten in a hurry.
That (and a rather energetic scene involving a hula hoop and nipple tassels) left Matt with an expression of cartoonish delight, and so three years later we were on our way to The Roundhouse to see the latest production from the creators of La Soirée.
Club Swizzle begins with the bar in the centre of the room being reconstructed into a catwalk for our host Reuben Kaye. Over the course of two-hours, this platform becomes a springboard for the Swizzle Boys, decking for the tap-dancing Dandy Wellington and faraway floor for Yammel Rodriguez' aerial acrobatics. I particularly enjoyed the performances by Laurie Hagen, whose cheeky and sometimes spellbinding striptease sequences demonstrate real skill in an art that can all too easily encourage teenage giggling.
Kaye's irresistible humour and stage presence make him a compelling entertainer, poking harmless fun at audience members and giving the confidence to those who, somewhat reluctantly, end up being more a part of the show than they bargained for. The involvement of individuals from the audience always strikes me as tricky, as there's the chance that the rest of the viewers will be silently willing the professionals back, and sharpish. Kaye orchestrates this section in such a way that the momentum surges and we barely notice the time passing for all the hands-over-eyes hilarity.
My favourite moments were the more intrepid stunts; is there any way of pouring champagne that the exuberant Swizzle Boys haven't tried? These five extraordinary men scale the pole with speed and precision, jump through hoops at impossible heights and display feats of strength and balance that are impossible to gawk at.
This is a show that has you emerging onto the streets of Camden dizzy with joy. It could offer more in terms of emotional engagement, but perhaps it's best as a lighthearted evening devoid of any hidden message. I challenge anyone not to leave with a smile on their face and that, surely, is what it's all about?