Review: ★★★★ SOAP, Underbelly Festival.

Review: ★★★★ SOAP, Underbelly Festival.

WARNING: THIS SHOW CONTAINS STRONG MEN AND SCENES OF EXPLICIT FUN AND FARCE. YOU WILL GET WET!

Opening with Gnarls Barkley’s ‘Crazy’ is indicative of the madcap, freakish hilarity that is in store in Markus Pabst and Maximilian Rambaek’s production of SOAP. With a range of skilled acts on display, spanning trapeze, contortion, acrobatics, juggling, spinning, clowning and operatic arias, SOAP presents a wet & wild circus act; a soap opera, if you will.

The idea is simple, a collection of short performances, executed in, on and around bathtubs. As water can be calming, fun, sensual and symbolic, the ensemble explore this theme through a mix of traditional circus performance. Creating short skits that show rage, strength, love and farce, SOAP creates theatre that is as sexy as it is haunting.

Reinhard Bichsel’s lighting design is beautiful. The choice of colour for the various looks and scenes are well thought out and whether it’s through strong strobes or softer hues, Bichsel ensures they complement the mood of each story perfectly. Most sets have a cheeky twist and this originality is also seen in the use of water on stage – whether it’s used atmospherically to rain down from above, or whether used purely for comic effect – SOAP’s ability to be innovative and inventive with long established circus traditions is a laudable feat.

The twist in the musical arrangements of Tal Balshai, keep everyone happy; an eclectic mix of modern and classical pieces, all in keeping with the show’s theme. Let It Splash, by The Beatles and the Strauss classic The Blue Dantub; both successfully transitioned by opera star Jennifer Lindshield. The international cast, consisting of Mortiz Haase, Lena Ries, Vanessa Alvarez, Anton Belyakov, Daniel Leo Stern & Adem Endris Yemam are superb and even when things go wrong, their artistry and flair make up for it. Marie-Andree Lemaire’s comic clown has the audience in stitches every time she steps foot on stage; an absolute joy to watch. The only criticism that can be mustered, is that it doesn’t go on for longer!

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