Party Of The Week: A night at the Circus

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The Independent Culture

Restraint seemed to be the watchword for guests, if not hosts, at the Royal Albert Hall's opening of Cirque du Soleil, with the trays of orange juice proving more popular than the champagne, and the canapés given the cold shoulder by the new year dieters.

Five News' Natasha Kaplinski took time out from babysitting to strut the red carpet, much to the waiting paparazzi's delight. Accompanied by her investment banker husband, the new mum showed little sign of maternal exhaustion as she showed off her winter tan and slimline post-pregnancy physique.

Pint-size Strictly judge Arlene Phillips milled around, weaving her way through the crowd and apparently avoiding former contestant Andrew Castle. Across the hall, bleach-blond pop star and I'm a Celebrity villain David van Day worked the room, all the time being fed sausage canapés by his leggy blonde date. "I've been so busy since arriving home," he giggled. "Of course the first thing I did was sell my story to the tabloids."

Fellow jungle-dweller Esther Rantzen was less enthused, slipping straight past party-goers to wait in her seat. A leopard-print clad Mariella Frostrup followed suit, by-passing the reception room and heading straight for the auditorium.

Meanwhile, Jamie Winstone was being uncharacteristically shy, trying to sneak past photographers on her way in. Alas, the pixyish actress was spotted and, her game up, donned a white fur hat to pose alongside boyfriend Alfie Allen.