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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Liza’s Back (is broken), Underbelly

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by guest critic Maeve Campbell

Liza Minnelli should have starred in the original Sound of Music, Gypsy and Les Miserables, but somehow things got in her way. That’s Trevor Ashley’s vision, and he is giving her some of those classic Broadway moments in this hour and a half show. Direct from rehab, Ashley’s Liza is suitably glittery, lispy and pant-suited. This is not a subtle impersonation, but the receptive London audience certainly don’t want that.

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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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