Underbelly Festival is back for its tenth year on the Southbank with an incredible line-up, including headline shows from four countries across four different continents by some of the finest purveyors of circus in the world.
Shows on sale today include a modern twist on the grand tradition of European Circus: acclaimed German production SOAP [3 May – 17 July] combines acrobatics and water for a visually extraordinary and riotously fun spectacle that includes bathtub acrobatics, a mop ballet and a spectacular rainy finale.
Circolombia was one of the hits of last year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe, a fiery Latin circus-concert infusing the world’s best circus performers and a powerful original live soundtrack with Colombia’s vibrant cultural heritage, which has its London premiere at Underbelly Festival from 24 May – 14 July.
Headline acts already announced are Ethiopian Fringe sensation Circus Abyssinia [6 April – 20 May] – starring the incredible Bibi and Bichu; and legendary Australian circus troupe Circa’s brand new extravaganza Peepshow [27 June – 18 August].
Beyond the intercontinental feast of circus, Underbelly Festival celebrates a decade as London’s home of spring and summer comedy with shows by a host of the country’s finest comedians including international sensation and star of The Daily Show Gina Yashere [22-24 June], superstar ventriloquist Nina Conti [28 April & 1 July], legendary comedian and mental health campaigner Ruby Wax [26-27 May], young pretender Dane Baptiste & Friends [7 July] and national treasures-in-waiting Katy Brand (26 April), James Acaster [9 May], Sara Pascoe [19-20 May], Danny Bhoy [4 June] and Stephen K. Amos [8 June], alongside many more of the very finest comedic talents in the biz.
Other genre transcending entertainment coming to the festival include Glasgow’s dark comedy renaissance man Limmy for a screening of his legendary Vines [2 June], cult interactive gameshow Knightmare Live [17 June & 8 July], legendary paragons of pop culture parody (who, like Underbelly Festival, mark their 10th anniversary this year) Frisky and Mannish [29 May], award-winning circus extravaganza Elixir, and countless hilarious and musically spectacular impressions from Jess Robinson [31 May & 5 July].
This year’s Underbelly Festival will also offer its most extensive and exciting range of family entertainment to date from the likes of Dick & Dom – making the festival their new bungalow on June 9-10, Metta Theatre, who reinvent Hans Christian Anderson’s classic in Metta’s Little Mermaid – The Circus Sensation using their signature blend of circus, physical theatre, contemporary dance and spoken word [24 July – 12 August], as well as the world’s foremost ‘bubbleologist’ The Amazing Bubble Man [21-22 &26-29 May], time-travelling magicians Morgan & West [7, 8 & 28 July, 27 August], riotous interactive shenanigans for kids (and plenty of jokes for parents) from Funz and Gamez [8 July] and Monski Mouse’s Baby Disco Dancehall [various dates 6 May-30 September], which gets the teeniest of boppers singing and dancing.
All of this is just a flavour of the full programme of comedy, circus, cabaret, variety and family fun taking place daily from April until the end of September in two spectacular venues, both set within a buzzing festival site which features some of London’s finest outdoor bars, offering a sumptuous range of food and drink.
Underbelly directors Ed Bartlam and Charlie Woods said:
“It’s hard to believe it’s been ten years since we first landed on the Southbank but we’re celebrating in style with our most exciting programme yet. As well as providing a range of brilliant comedy, cabaret, family entertainment, food, drink and bars, our headline shows all demonstrate the richness and variety of circus performance all around the world and it’s amazing to be hosting them mere yards away from the birthplace of circus 250 years ago.”