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Review: Hot, wet, bathtub acrobatics are good clean fun in SOAP, Underbelly Festival

It's a sexy show but good clean fun with a big dose of playfulness to much of what is performed

Try writing a review of comedy/acrobatic/opera show SOAP at Underbelly without using double entendres.

SOAP_WET_©_Dmitry_Shakhin-24_400x300I mean there are bathtubs, water, men in pants and pink balls for goodness sake.

Themed around bath-time, when the cast of acrobats, jugglers and red-welly wearing 'clown' (Marie-Andrée Lemaire) aren't frolicking, sliding in, hiding in and generally performing amazing feats in and around the roll-top tubs, they are squirting water, making watery music - or performing under a shower.


Don't worry, those in the front row get some protection (from the splashes).

It's a sexy show but good clean fun with a big dose of playfulness to much of what is performed. 


Cheeky twists

As well as the comic interludes with Marie-Andrée, there are cheeky twists to the narrative segments so that, for example, a 'threesome' of dance acrobatics across two end to end tubs doesn't finish up quite as you imagine.

Remember the Levi jeans shrink to fit ad from the 80s? I was having flashbacks but rather than a few pull-ups there is a whole sequence of breathtaking strap-work performed with agility, strength and grace - and nail-biting, water-slopping plunges into the tub.  


In the drier territory, contortionist Lena Ries demonstrates abilities that would make the most experienced yogi's jaw drop even without a bathtub to balance on.

And later some of her postures are amusingly recreated by our less flexible clown who also proves a skilful puppeteer - without puppets.

Cleverly choreographed

The more muscular - and yet still graceful - sequences of hand balancing and cleverly choreographed acrobatic fights add variety to the rhythm and pace accompanied by faster beats.

Contrast this towel foot juggling, pink-ball base juggling and opera singer Jennifer Lindshield adding atmospheric musical interludes and you've got a skilful and sexy mix of entertainment to amuse, dazzle and wow.

Towel modesty

While three naked men dancing with carefully positioned towels isn't new, it's still fun to watch and almost obligatory during a show themed around bathtime.

In fact, the bath theme is well executed and adds an interesting splash to this circus show which proves to be good, clean fun.

SOAP is getting 5 stars from me and it is at Underbelly Festival on the South Bank until June 17. It's 70 minutes without an interval.