Thursday, 21 April 2011

Udderbelly Southbank Festival: fun and frolics under the cow

Once ‘the’ wedding is done with the centre of attention in London this year is definitely going to be on the South Bank. It is the 50th anniversary of the Festival of Britain. The Vintage at Goodwood people are decamping there at some point and I have no idea what that will be like (so far expensive is the only thing that comes to mind). If however, you are heading in that direction a more guaranteed source of glee and entertainment will also have arrived: The Udderbelly Festival at the Southbank.  If that sounds like a rum name for a festival the venue itself, a large upside-down purple cow tent, may seem even more preposterous but that’s what it is. Personally I like cows and the surreality of the venue is reflected by an impressive range of acts: it appears that the organisers have cherry picked the best available comedy, cabaret and all purpose performing stuff out there.  From the touristic point of view it is also right beside an iconic view, some love/hate architecture and some blooming good pubs.  And you don’t have to camp, or put up with wellied idiots to enjoy this festival. I know a few people who read this blog do so because they are coming to London and this would be a good way to while away an evening here.

Udderbelly Tent.
There is plenty to appeal to the retrocentric, those delightful coves The Fitzrovia Radio Hour are there for example as is the ‘Flanders and Swann: At the drop of a hippopotamus.’ show on June 4th. What is also striking is the breadth of performers and types of show. Howard Marks, Michael Morpurgo, Barry Cryer, Issy Suttie, Richard Herring and Paul Daniels all under the same .. erm.. belly.

Those rum coves the Fitzrovia Radio Hour.
 
Spymonkey, spot the radio controlled pheasant.
 My particular tips would be Spymonkey, I saw this lot perform a few years back in a performance called ‘Cooped’ which was very good. I have never forgotten the radio controlled pheasants that featured in that production, my urge to own a radio controlled pheasant has never abated. Their performance at Udderbelly this time is called ‘Spymonkey’s Love In’.  Anyone who is a fan of clever physical acting and imaginative staging should grab the chance to see them. Frisky and Mannish are also appearing and are a duo whom like Ophelia Bitz or Dusty Limits or the Double RR club are at the vanguard of proper challenging funny if sometimes uncomfortable cabaret. These count as Redleg’s ‘top tips ‘.

Frisky and Mannish.

It seems right for a location that was once famous for bawdy variety and sly comedians should be hosting a good range of off the piste taking the piss comedy.   Events that appear to me to be perfectly in keeping with the bohemian entertaining ‘up-yours’ nature of the Vauxhall , Kennington, Waterloo side of the river include ‘Ida Barr’s Royal Flush Bingo Party’  and the ‘ Alternative Royal Wedding Reception’ may well be the only place (apart from the Palace) to be on the evening of the 29th April.  Later on in May the 'Time Out Alternative Eurovision Song Contest' is on.
Time Out Alternative Wedding Reception.

Last but not least these performances are very good value costing between £10.00 - £20.00 per pop for a performance in a smallish venue in central London, I doubt you’ll find the same elsewhere of the same quality. I think tickets may sell quite quickly once word gets out so I’d get in there quickly.

Tickets can be booked from here:  http://www.underbelly.co.uk/webpages/southbank/booking.php
Festival Website is here: http://www.underbelly.co.uk/main.php

Udderbelly in Brighton.

If anyone can recommend or has seen any of the line-up please comment so we know what to see!
Pip, pip xxx

3 comments:

WDI said...

Good show, Missus. Mr Hemmingway can stick his event up his posterior if he thinks I'm forking out out that much to knock about with a bunch of twats in wigs and plastic hats.

RedlegsinSoho said...

Especially when this is reasonably priced, you get to choose something of your own volition that is worth seeing and the river and a position on the south bank are thrown in for free. x

Anonymous said...

I wanted to celebrate the Festival of Britain anniversary when I come to London next month and this sounds like a cool option.

Charlytree.

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