Oddball cabaret set to wow Swedish audiences

La Clique, performing in Stockholm this week, is a brilliant mix of raw sex appeal, humor, and unbelievable physical ability, writes Emy Gelb.

Oddball cabaret set to wow Swedish audiences

“Big hearted, funny, sexy, and dangerous” is how La Clique’s creative producer Brett Haylock describes the show’s delicious blend of cabaret, new burlesque, circus sideshow and contemporary variety. La Clique, which has been on tour for the past seven years, has delighted audiences across the world.

Now, the group is one of the highlights of Stockholm’s Culture Festival, during which they performing their first Swedish show at Tyrol on Djurgården.

When Claes Karlsson, Artistic Director of the Stockholm Culture Festival, and Anders Ålander, Senior Producer at Södra Teatern, saw La Clique perform abroad, they knew that they had to bring the self proclaimed oddballs to Stockholm to perform in Culture Festival.

Ålander recalls his first reaction to the show:

“The performance was magically wonderful and very well composed…we have to do this.” They started talking with other theatre companies across Sweden and helped to organize La Clique’s Swedish tour.

Karlsson and Ålander chose well; La Clique is the perfect show to open the Stockholm Culture Festival. Their performance is dazzling; it is a brilliant mix of raw sex appeal, humor, and unbelievable physical ability.

The acts include, but are certainly not limited to, a double-jointed man squeezing into tennis racquets, a burlesque dance with hoola hoops, and water drenched aerial acrobats. Standing alone, each act is unique, exciting, and fresh. Together, they are a true representation of physical and theatrical skill.

Captain Frodo, the show’s clumsy, charming contortionist, calls La Clique a “large extended family” where “ all the odd balls are put together in one show, a group where being different is an asset, not a flaw. We stand strong together and shine.”

The shows are being held at Tyrol, a cozy venue located in Stockholm’s amusement park Gröna Lund. A small stage is set amidst an intimate circle of chairs, where Haylock explains “there is nowhere for the artists to hide, so the audience plays a key role.”

The performers and organizers are positive the show reception will please audiences. Captain Frodo expects a “killer show” and Ålander confessed that he is “absolutely certain” that Swedish audiences will love the performance.

La Clique are performing as a part of the Stockholm Culture festival between August 10th and 15th, then returning again from September 10th to 18th. The group will also visit Lund, Halmstad, and Umea.

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Stockholm Open set to serve up a storm

The ATP Stockholm Open hits the Swedish capital on Saturday with international players vying for a piece of the €530,000 ($718,000) pie. Will it be a local Swede who takes out this year's title? The Local chats to the tournament organizer to find out more.

Stockholm Open set to serve up a storm

“All the sponsors, players and organizers are getting ready, I’m really excited,” tournament spokesman Christian Ahlqvist told The Local over the phone, with the sound of tennis balls thwacking around in the background.

Held inside Stockholm’s Royal Tennis Hall, the tournament has been played every year since 1969, attracting some of the biggest tennis names in Sweden and the world.

“All the big Swedish players have played in the Stockholm Open, Björn Borg, Mats Wilander. Former world number one Roger Federer won the title in 2010. We’ve had some really great players, its always been one of the tournaments to play in,” explained Ahlqvist.

IN PICTURES: See Swedish tennis legend Björn Borg’s career in pictures

Headlining this year’s contingent is Spanish world number four David Ferrer who is tipped to take home the trophy.

“Ferrer is coming from Shanghai, he’s a great player and he’s always performed very well here,” said Ahlqvist.

But if you thought it was a one horse race, think again. Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov and Polish giant Jerzy Janowicz (who is over two metres tall), both 22, are two young players looking to challenge Ferrer and show the tennis world that they belong at the top.

However the odds are against Sweden netting the championship. World number 444 Markus Eriksson is the only confirmed Swedish player so far, although more may find their way through in Friday’s final qualifications. But statistically, the odds aren’t historically in the Swedes’ favour, with the last winner, Thomas Johansson, in 2004.

A strong Swedish presence in the singles may be lacking, but the Swedish men are expected to do better in the doubles.

“Jonas Björkman is making a comeback in the doubles with one of the best doubles players in the world, Robert Lindstedt. So that will be interesting to see,” said Ahlqvist.

As for a tip for the winner, Ahlqvist likes world number 41 Jarkko Nieminen from Finland.

“Jarko is someone who’s been a bit on and off the court with injuries. He’s played here so many times before, he’s almost a Swede. Everyone would love to see him win one.”

Saturday marks the opening ceremony for the Open, which will be held on centre court and is free for everyone. The tournament begins on the same day, with the final scheduled for Sunday the 19th.

Josh Liew

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