With today’s quick access to entertainment, it’s not easy to be impressed or surprised. Leave those notions firmly outside the tent. La Clique is here. It’s dangerous, it’s titillating, it’s outlandish – cabaret and circus at their finest.

Birthed at the Edinburgh Fringe almost two decades ago, La Clique is back with a true variety, even among the styles of its four aerial performers and the fantastic music choice. Acrobats, comedians, burlesque dancers, magicians, quick-change acts, and sword-eaters from all over the world combine their prowess to make this event a highlight of the festival. Every second is mapped and rehearsed. The production and movement of props become a smooth part of the show, and the coordination between the performers and tech support has to be congratulated. We are comfortable knowing we’re in the hands of professionals. Still, shocking moments have us gasp and screech. Others even provoke wolf whistles and howls.

From the crassness of full-frontal nudity to the delicate balancing of a parasol on tiptoes; the boisterous fun of a hip-hop aerial routine to the sultriness of pole dancing; the must-look-away-but-can’t horror of a banana juggling routine to the bizarreness of cabaret in a humongous balloon – La Clique makes us experience every shade of the emotional spectrum. We are lost from ourselves, captivated by the performers for an hour and ten minutes – and we wish time would stretch infinitely.

Sit at the front row at your own risk. If you are easily queasy and uncomfortable interacting with nude performers, perhaps a booth at the back may be a safer call. Though the show is meant for almost a 360-degree viewing, be sure to avoid sitting just behind the tent poles. This is a show you won’t want to miss even a second of.

‘La Clique’ runs till 26 Aug 2023 at Underbelly’s Circus Hub on the Meadows at 19.20.