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Review: Soap (Underbelly Festival)

Underbelly and Base Berlin present this sexy, thrilling and funny piece in and around a load of bathtubs

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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The company of Soap
(© Richard Lakos)

As the father of a seven month-old son, bath times have taken on a new meaning of late. Gone are the days of kicking back in a bubble-filled tub and soaking one's muscles, replaced instead with juggling Paw Patrol toys and wrestling with a child who has no intention of staying put. So it was with playful anticipation that I approached Soap, a circus piece from German ensemble Base Berlin, performed in and around the humble bathtub.

Presented as part of this year's Underbelly Festival on London's South Bank, Soap feels right at home as performers splish-splash so close to the Thames that you can almost hear the river lapping at the doors of the atmospheric Spiegeltent.

Marie-Andrée Lemaire in Soap
(© Richard Lakos)

But this performance is more than just water play, as this super skilled troupe – so sculpted in their tighty-wighties they could have been carved by Michelangelo himself – twist, turn, fly, fling, contort and juggle their way through a taut 70 minute set.

If, by the halfway mark, I was lamenting the lack of water in the six tubs onstage, that thirst was satiated come the thrilling finale – if you don't want to get wet, avoid the front few rows.

It's all held together wonderfully by French Canadian Marie-Andrée Lemaire, a charming contemporary clown whose comic timing is only outdone by her surprisingly effective foot puppetry.

Sexy, smart and sensuous, Soap at the South Bank's Spiegeltent is just the place to cleanse your soul this summer.

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