Open from April until the end of September, Underbelly Festival Southbank brings you world class entertainment at their beautiful pop-up festival, right in the heart of London. Their events and festivals division operate one of the largest acts at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, selling over 460,000 tickets for over 200 shows, in 22 venues over 25 days in 2018. 2019 marks the eleventh year of Underbelly Festival on the Southbank – one of the biggest multi-arts offerings in London.
Here are my top 5 reasons why you should head over and check it out this summer.
1. A Simple Space
Gravity & Other Myths’ acrobatic show ‘A Simple Space’ is truly spectacular. Performers are used as skipping ropes, bent in every shape possible, hurled metres into the air, and partake in death-defying tricks. The shows start with members of the cast shouting ‘falling’, as they fall backwards hoping someone will catch them, in the ultimate game of trust. This playful element sets the scene for the rest of the show. The cast are funny and engaging, bringing a personal and authentic touch to the performance, and with no gimmicks, their true talent shines through.
The intimate theatre allows audience members to become immersed in every moment, as you can literally hear every breath from the stage. Throughout the show, the cast continue to involve the audience in their acts, including an exercise where audience members are given balls to throw at them to try and knock them off balance, and another where two of the girls choose a man each from the audience and have the ultimate strength competition where they see who can carry them for the longest.
The highlight for me was when one of the girls was balancing on a guy’s head….and then backflipped and landed on another guy’s head! HOW!?!
2. The Shows
Aside from ‘A Simple Space’, there are also a whole range of other shows available, catering to all ages. Underbelly is packed to the brim with variety including comedy, cabaret, theatre, children’s shows, live podcasts, circus, and music. There is something for all the family to enjoy, so I would recommend checking what’s on and when.
3. Food & Drink
There are numerous food stalls and street food vendors throughout the venue, that cater for all needs and tastes. They include a Mac & Cheese stand, various ‘burger and chips’ stands, a ‘British’ themed stall which sells fish and chips, and a Thai vendor selling some delicious Asian cuisine. There are also lots of drink stalls, including one of the largest outdoor bars in London, a huge Rekorderlig tent, and a Pimm’s van!
4. The Venue
The venue is very pretty; decorated in fairy lights, with long wooden benches to enjoy food and drink. The floor is lined with astroturf, with grape vines, trees, and plants around to make it the perfect setting for a summer night. It also comes with outdoor heaters and roaring fires for the colder evenings. The atmosphere is electric, with people coming together to chat and have fun in a gorgeous little pop up.
5. The Location
Situated along the riverside, with Waterloo being the closest tube station, Underbelly is both Centrally located and picturesque. With stunning views of the city, you can take a nice stroll along the Thames before your visit, or hop on board the London Eye afterwards! The location means you can easily find things to do before and after the festival.
Underbelly runs from April to September. For more info on ‘whats on’, check out their website: Underbelly Festival
I received an invite to this event in exchange for a review. Views are my own.