Theatre Thought: A Simple Space at The Underbelly
I mean, BLAHDY ‘ELL the weather’s been nice, ain’t it chums? I clocked off work on the Strand at 5.30 one day last week, SLUNG my camera over my shoulder, BADE goodbye to all my colleagues and STROLLED THE FUCK down Villiers St and over Jubilee Bridge over to the Underbelly on the Southbank.
I mean, sometimes I just fancy the PANTS off this city. More so than I fancied the PANTS off my year 6 crush at the St Mary’s Youth Club Disco (where to be fair I fucking rocked the arse off my orange Sketchers and yellow Reebok jumper so don’t be too jeal).
ANYWAY I was beaming that the sun was beaming because I was making my way over to the Underbelly on the Southbank to catch one of their excellent Summer shows, A Simple Space by Gravity and Other Myths.
Underbelly is one of the Edfringe’s top and most iconic venues. The amount of times I’ve been in Edinburgh and picked up my phone and said , “Cool, meet you at the Big Purple Cow in 5!” is just unfathomable. And us LUCKY LONDONERS get to experience the best of the Fest regardless of whether you’re planning a trip to Haggis-a-go-go-land or not, because Underbelly bring that said purple bovine to the Southbank for a glorious season of Edinburgh previews every year. As you walk over any of the bridges, the reclining purple cow becomes as much of our capital’s skyline as the Wooden O, the Eye and the Nash.
The programme is always a heady blend of circus, cabaret and comedy with a nice big dollop of theatre thrown in for good measure, and what with most shows adhering to strict Edinburgh times, a lot of them are only an hour/hour and a half long, which leaves PLENTY OF LOVELY TIME to soak up the atmosphere of the Underbelly gardens for a few pints and a Pimms. (Side note- this is also a PRIME spot to come for after work drinks during the Summer- no ticket necessary!)
Teaming up with a few babes, we soaked up the atmosphere and the rays, getting geared up for the show. Gravity and Other Myths are an Australian acrobatics ensemble whose current show relies purely on their strength, skill and engagement with the audience as their selling point-unlike most other circus companies, there’s not a spangle in sight!
And I have to say, the show was PHENOMENAL. The show is just as the title suggests- on a small, blank stage with only a few hand operated lights to highlight the action. The music is provided by a drummer, and the costumes comprise of grey chinos and shorts, and a few black crop tops for the laydeez.
Hmm. Dull you say. Sounds pretty boring if you ask me.
AND YET HOW WRONG YOU ARE MY FRIEND. I’ve never seen such a sheer display of skill, humour and strength in one swoop. I gasped and gaped and made audible “NO WAY” sounds as the company push their bodies to the limit of human endurance with ease. Imagine this: there was at one point a bloke stood on the floor, and another big bloke stood on his head, and then another girl stood on HIS head. THREE PEOPLE HIGH. I MEAN WHAAAAAAAAAAT?! Other highlights consisted of a chap in a headstand on a platform the size of a sanitary towel solving a rubix cube and a sequence where the chaps used the girls as human skipping ropes, throwing them between each other as if they weighed no more than feathers. And given the size of these ladies’ six packs they probably were made of more than that. EPIC. However, my best bit was when the boys played “Strip Skipping”. Every time one of them missed a step with their skipping ropes, they had to take an article of clothing off. And that was absolutely fine. I’m ashamed to say I wooped and brayed along with the rest. (Forgive me- It’s been a while.)
Go on, have a gander at their pure SKILLZ ON TOAST:
I left the theatre feeling like my nerves had been really put to the test, and yet totally exhilarated at the same time. This was only furthered when I spied the hairiest most handsomest member of the troupe lurking in the beer garden, and had to rush over for a snap (DON’T EVEN BOTHER JUDGING ME YOU DIDN’T SEE WHAT HE CAN DO WITH THOSE ARMS)
Naturally after such a nail-biting (and AHEM arousing. WAIT WHAT WHO SAID THAT) show, we just HAD to have a few beers and laughs to chill ourselves out, all under the gaze of the All-Seeing Eye.
If you’re in Edinburgh this August, I would THOROUGHLY recommend A Simple Space. They’re buff, they’re talented and they are INCREDIBLE. You can book tickets for their show HERE.
I’m now feeling thoroughly warmed up for Edinburgh. I might go and have a beer whilst sat in my raincoat and flipflops with a plethora of flyers falling out of my pockets. ROLL ON AUGUST!
A Simple Space runs at the Underbelly in London until 13th July- Book tickets here!
It then runs in Edinburgh at the Underbelly in Bristo Square between the 31st July-25th August- Book tickets here!
bloodyhellbrennan were guests of the Underbelly