Elixir, Underbelly Southbank

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by guest critic Rebecca JS Nice

Elixir’s programming at Edinburgh Festival 2016 packed out the purple cow and Thomas Gorham, Rowan Thomas and Cal Harris filled the expansive space with charisma and flying bodies. Playing to a much more intimate audience in the Underbelly’s Spiegeltent this year, Australian company Head First Acrobats carefully adapt their relationship with the audience which is bought right up close to a whizzing cyr wheel and regurgitated tonic water.

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SOAP, Underbelly

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by guest critic Rebecca JS NIce

Two proud directors, Ed Bartlam and Charlie Wood, celebrate ten years of Underbelly at the Southbank on 10 May with an open bar and free mini-burgers that a supremely jolly audience maul the waiting staff to get their hands on. Bartlam makes a speech while Wood suavely leans by his side as he reminds us all how they bought the iconic purple cow from Edinburgh to London, including its strong and diverse circus programme which this year boasts returning favourite Elixir alongside Circolumbia and Circus Abyssinia: Ethiopian Dreams to name a few. Rather wet cast members provide the celebratory performance in a show where sex and some circus tricks provide shits and giggles in the intimate Spiegeltent housing five bathtubs.

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The Bekkrell Effect, Roundhouse

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by guest critic Rebecca JS Nice

Groupe Bekkrell at CircusFest 2018 presents four women with a climbing rope, teeter board, tight rope, Chinese pole and one energetic stage hand. Four women dressed in tweed and a stage rigged with lights directly at its edge sit tiny as a nucleus within the vast empty dome of the interior of The Roundhouse. Despite the booming base and explosive soundtrack, the work has a gentle expansive presence that dwarfs its surroundings by the time it comes to an end.

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Hot Brown Honey, Edinburgh Festival Fringe

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‘The revolution is childcare!’ proclaims Busty Beatz from the top of her honeycomb mountain. The revolution also honours people from First Nations around the world, respects women of colour and escapes the constraints of imperialism. It’s owning your body, your sexuality and your race. It is Hot Brown Honey, the radical feminist cabaret from Australian women of colour.

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Catch Me, Underbelly Southbank

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by guest critic Rebecca JS Nice

The Underbelly Festival Southbank is like a mini Edinburgh Festival where visitors cocoon between pop up bars, fake grass, fairy lights and giant flowerpots have a sense of exclusivity, as they wonder through to enjoy the bars as much as the shows. This vibe will stay all summer and I will no doubt be returning to sip Pimm’s in the sun whether I have show tickets or not. But having seen both currently billed shows twice now, in Edinburgh and London, their quality, popularity and longevity cannot be argued.

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Coulrophobia, Greenwich Theatre

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by guest critic Rebecca JS Nice

Pickled Image Theatre work with John Nicholson to produce and write Coulrophobia, which has been touring on and off for seven months. Coulrophobia – Two Clowns Trapped In A Cardboard World is performed by Dik Downey (company director) and Adam Blake. The tragic twosome pull out a series of cardboard puppets as they frolic about a set full, but not quite full enough, of cardboard boxes.

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