The Underbelly Festival in Southbank is the gift that just keeps on giving, the amazing range of shows that they have on offer means that there is something for everyone. Last Tuesday, I attended Circa’s Peep Show with two of my friends, and let me tell you, this was the perfect way to wind down after a busy day at work.
When I initially saw the title of the show, the first thing that came to mind was the sexual shows that were shown in the early 17th and 18th century. Going into the show, we were curious as to how the performance would be composed. The show played around with the concept of a peep show, but they also gave it their own twist. They combined theatricality, comedy, and danger into one titillating and sensual performance. It contorts the traditional idea of cabaret into something unique and exhilarating. I won’t spoil the show for you, but there is a surprise element hidden within the show which evoked a massive round of applause and even a few wolf whistles.
The performance began with the song “Sweet Dreams” by Eurythmics and quite rightly so. With the bold spotlights and unnerving gazes that the artists give you, the whole performance felt like a surreal and abstract dream which made it all the more intriguing. In between acts the performers would partake in dancing which was wild, almost as if the performers no longer had control over their bodies. This dark and distorted theme continued throughout the show. The troupe came together in one act to create a web made entirely from a ball of tissue paper which is unravelled and passed from mouth to mouth as the performers clamber over and underneath one another. The web entraps not only the performers but also the spectators. It ensures that they will never forget this indescribable and unique experience.
The jaw-dropping stunts that were performed throughout the show had my heart skip a beat. The performers would drop from staggering heights without a scratch to their body, and Jessica Connell (the circus performer) would be thrown from person to person. I don’t think there was even one act in the entire show that did not elicit a gasp of awe from the audience. I think at one point my friend even jumped forward as she was so stunned by the dangerous stunts.
Photo Credit: Lisha Halai
Circa bewitched the audience through their enthralling performance. The performance itself is quite naked (literally too!). The artists used minimal equipment and props within the show which meant that the performance was quite raw and passionate. It was all about the performers rather than the equipment traditionally used in circuses.
Not only is there a melding of the bodies, but there is also a melding of the genders. It defies conventional stereotypes by dressing the performers in androgynous outfits and showcasing the insane physical strength of both the females and the males.
Warning: This show contains some nudity and sexual references.
I would recommend Circa’s Peep Show if you are looking to experience something unique and exhilarating. Be sure to grab your tickets quickly as the show ends on 18th August 2018.
Tickets start from £21.50, and you can get them at: http://www.underbellyfestival.com/whats-on/peepshow#calendar-08-2018
Closest Stations: Waterloo Station and Embankment Station