Must-See Shows at This Year’s Underbelly Festival
The Underbelly Festival is returning to London’s beautiful South Bank for an 11th year. This favourite summertime event is chock-a-block with shows, music, activities, food, and drink. Underbelly is a leading producer of Fringe shows and a mainstay at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, known for showcasing offbeat talent and offering a wide range of family-friendly entertainment.
This year, the six-month event runs from 5 April to 29 September and features comedy, circus, cabaret, and more. It can be hard to know where to start so we created this helpful guide to make sure you’re catching the most-anticipated shows at this year’s festival.
“A Simple Space”
The awe-inspiring acrobatics troupe Gravity & Other Myths performs acts that are simultaneously visceral and intimate. “A Simple Space” strips the art of circus down to its rawest elements in order to heighten its electrifying tension. Performed in a small space, audience members are up close to the action as seven acrobats demonstrate their physical capabilities, pushing their limits to mind-boggling extremes.
“Little Death Club”
With a sprinkle of circus and a spoonful of comedy, this deliciously daring cabaret has all the ingredients of a quintessential Underbelly show. Bernie Dieter embodies the ideal emcee with her saucy humour and stunning Wiemar-punk vocals, leading an evening of can’t-miss performances. With acrobatics, jazz, comedy, and drag, “Little Death Club” is an all-in-one ticket to a must-see festival experience.
The ladies of “Yummy” are bringing their acclaimed drag cabaret all the way from their home in Perth, Australia to the London South Bank. Join in the fun with Karen from Finance, Bendy Benjamin, Valerie Hex, and the rest of the delightful divas. After a widely acclaimed stop off in Edinburgh, this mesmerising blend of circus, comedy, and burlesque is an unmissable ticket at this year’s festival.
“London Comedy Allstars”
Throughout the summer, a lineup of Britain’s most talented comedians are coming together under one tent for the hit comedy series Comedy Allstars. Both fresh faces and seasoned veterans of the comedy scene showcase their funniest work. No matter which day you visit the Comedy Allstars tent, the show promises to deliver laughs every time.
A staple of popular telly programmes like “Mock the Week” and “Deal or No Deal,” John Robins is one of England’s most recognised comedians. His shows have been a mainstay at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe since 2009, and now he’s bringing his hilarious new set “Work in Progress” to the 2019 Underbelly Festival.
Multiple award-winning comedian Mark Watson will be featuring his own famous brand of Welsh humour all over the Underbelly Festival this year, but the hottest ticket is his new stand-up show “How You Can Almost Win,” a wildly funny account of his recent experience on the television show “Celebrity Island with Bear Grylls.”
Fresh from the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Sean McLoughlin will be performing his new show “Hail Mary,” which “Chortle” calls “his tightest hour yet.” This set is filled with incisive jokes skewering today’s tumultuous political atmosphere and his own uncertainty coming into his 30s.
Other major comedy favourites with live shows slated throughout the summer are Phil Wang, Vikki Stone, Stephen K Amos, Abandoman (aka Rob Broderick), Sofie Hagen, and Fin Taylor.
Music and Dance
Throughout the summer, a wide array of musical performances will be available at the festival, ranging from soulful concerts to upbeat dance shows.
Featured musical performances include
- An evening with the warm, engaging singer-songwriter Anoushka Lucas, who Jamie Cullum calls “a classic voice”
- The Journey Through Jazz evening, which delivers what the name promises – a swinging medley of Jazz Age tunes including different dances from the ’20s
- Sh!t-Faced Showtime: Guys ’n’ Dolls from the boozy folks of of Sh!t-Faced Shakespeare. Enjoy the same drunken theatre now with musicals! For Underbelly, they’ll perform the classic “Guys ‘n’ Dolls” with at least one properly pissed actor and plenty of drinks left over for the audience.
Whether you’re completely new to podcasts or a total junkie, the shows offered at the 2019 Underbelly Festival have something for everyone. Check out the list below and snag tickets now to see your favourites!
1. “A Gay and A Non-Gay”
The podcast that lifts up and celebrates our differences in a world trying to discourage them.
2. “Dreamgun Film Reads: Jaws”
In this live recording, the guys of “Dreamgun Film Reads” will twist the script of the iconic movie “Jaws” and turn it into a goofy comedy.
3. “Hoovering Podcast”
Jessica Fostekew hosts this delicious podcast for anyone who enjoys eating.
4. “In Conversation with Standard Issue”
Formerly an offbeat online magazine, the Standard Issue has repackaged its feminist takes on news and politics for a listening audience.
5. “Sofie Hagen & Mark Watson: Better”
The two comedy favourites team up for this podcast to test their new jokes and have a laugh.
6. “Nobody Panic”
Stevie Martin and Tessa Coates host this weekly podcast in which they ask experts how to sort out their lives and reduce stress.
7. “Pappy’s Flatshare Slamdown Podcast”
This unique comedy podcast is an audio game show from the hilarious sketch team Pappy’s.