Soap review at Underbelly, London – ‘splashy, frothy bathtub fun’
The central idea of Soap – acrobats performing in and around bathtubs containing actual water – sounds like a cross between a CBeebies stage show, a sleaze-merchant’s wet dream and an insurance nightmare.
Fortunately, it isn’t all suds and gussets. In fact, there isn’t any soap at all. Bubbles aside, it’s straightforwardly frothy fun; 70 minutes of bathroom buffoonery to expunge the cares of the day, involving the kind of high-quality tubs with legs of which us Generation Renters can only dream.
Some of it’s a bit old hat but entertaining nonetheless – bare limbs scissoring out of baths along to the beat; a trio of blokes in the nude niftily swapping towels in time to the cygnet dance from Swan Lake; a mini-symphony of gargles and gurgles. At times it approaches a more serious sensuality via bathtub-and-ballad contortion numbers, in which the performers – particularly Lena Ries – display the seemingly jointless flexibility of amoeba.
Brawny Daniel Leo Stern emerges from a bath in soggy jeans and rises into space on the aerial straps, almost as if the famous hunk from the 1990s Diet Coke advert was newly-birthed from a ceramic uterus, lightly dripping amniotic fluid.
Moritz Haase impresses on the trapeze with daring flips, while Vanessa Alvarez’s effortless foot juggling – with a guitar – is truly gasp-inducing stuff. In a splashy denouement, kagoule-clad Anton Belyakov folds his legs with origami precision while balancing upside down braced on the sides of a tub. If only everyday ablutions could be this compelling.
We need your help…
When you subscribe to The Stage, you’re investing in our journalism. And our journalism is invested in supporting theatre and the performing arts.
The Stage is a family business, operated by the same family since we were founded in 1880. We do not receive government funding. We are not owned by a large corporation. Our editorial is not dictated by ticket sales.
We are fully independent, but this means we rely on revenue from readers to survive.
Help us continue to report on great work across the UK, champion new talent and keep up our investigative journalism that holds the powerful to account. Your subscription helps ensure our journalism can continue.