I say not-review because I don't feel qualified to pass judgement on shows like this. My birthday present to my sister for this year, it was pretty much by chance I stumbled upon Soap
at the Riverside Studios but it looked like exactly penny_p
's sort of thing: One of those dance/acrobatics/circus skills shows she loves, and I have to say it's by far the best of these I've seen (although admittedly I've not seen many.) It's a multinational cast each of whom has a specialised skill, and each of whom gets at least one major solo moment to shine, on a stage full of bathtubs that they dance in, out of and around. In the more spectacular numbers the bathtubs are full of water, which in some cases lends an obvious extra danger to the acrobatics.
Penny and I were in agreement that the two Canadian men were the best; this is completely
unrelated to the fact that they were the ones we each fancied. Basically I knew I was going to like the show right from the start when Fernando Dudka popped out of his bathtub. The show's publicity actually features a different "handstand acrobat" but happily the internet helped me rectify that lack of photos:
What do you mean that last one's a bit gratuitous? It's completely
gratuitous. I was going to make a comment about that photo on his wall but there's no need to, I got that from his MySpace where he's openly gay. So, were I to be considering having any dirty thoughts at some point, this might be useful information. Anyway, getting back to what he actually does on stage, that's bloody impressive as well - he got probably the biggest round of applause, unsurprisingly since "handstands" doesn't comes close to describing what he did. His was the first solo to feature large amounts of water which he splashed all over the stage as he leapt in and out of the bath. It was one of the most dangerous-looking routines of the night as well, as he jumped barefoot and soaking wet on a slippery-looking bath it was pretty amazing that he didn't hurt himself.
Penny's favourite was François Gravel who had the show's closing number with a dance trapeze act, again one of the more dangerous-looking acts.
Also notable were Masha Terentieva, a contortionist, and Nata Galkina who can do unusual things with her feet. Throughout the show there's live operatic singing, often of songs not often sung in that style, from Lina Navakaite (at this performance.) I didn't enjoy the second act as much as the first (and not
just because Fernando kept his clothes on) but also because it over-relied on "comic" interludes from Marie-Andrée Lemaire, whose clowning skills are excellent but it's still, you know... clowning
. I got a bit "come on, more people unnecessarily risking their lives plz!" It might have been better as a shorter show without an interval, instead of a padded second half. Still, at its best this is ridiculously impressive.Soap
is booking until the 25th of April at Riverside Studios Hammersmith.