The 400-seater festival returns to the Southbank's pastures green for three months of comedy, circus and family shows – forming the backdrop to the perfect summer hangout beneath the London Eye – before making its annual move up to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August.
The festival presents another marvellous programme of events, from award-winning stand-ups and cabaret to kids’ shows and improvised theatre. Not forgetting that, throughout, the festival is home to one of London's largest outdoor bars and many summertime eateries along the river. We know you're spoiled for choice, so to help you navigate this wealth of diversions, Culture Whisper has its eye on a few performances that are more than worth the fight for tickets.
Circus and Cabaret performances
Remember what it is to be human by watching acrobats push themselves to the edge of what is possible, while balancing joy with precision, in this international circus sensation that enjoyed rave reviews at the Edinburgh fringe last year.
Adrenaline feats of extreme acrobatics, dramatic turns on a trampoline and inventive parkour – there's a new circus troupe on the block. Canadian group Flip FabriQue are making their London debut this summer with a family-friendly circus designed to send shivers down your spine.
The first all-female Cyr troupe, Alula’s debut HYENA explodes on to the UK circus scene in a whirlwind of women, giant wheels, acrobatics, dance and song. It's all about sisterhood, strength, power and fighting the patriarchy!
The story follows three enthusiastic and acrobatic scientists who attempt to create the elixir of life. The mayhem that follows is a beautiful mix of incredible acrobatics and impeccable comic timing.
Inspired by vintage, after-hours Montmartre, expect to encounter high-kicking showgirls, jaw-dropping acrobats, comic street singers, musicians playing accordions, aerialists and the most sensuous fire-breathing nipple-tassled woman to grace London's Southbank this summer! Returning to Underbelly for the fourth year running, the Black Cat Cabaret fluctuates between the poetically lyrical and the downright louche. Directed by The Black Cat’s compère, Dusty Limits, this provocative belle époque cabaret will have you glued to your seat.
After writing a book exploring the evolution of the female body, Sara now considers further issues – will pornography lead to our extinction? Are humans naturally bad? How do we become better? Do we really have to die? And, gulp, should she have a baby?
This one isn't for the family, but (for grown-ups) it's very, very funny. Shit-faced Shakespeare by Magnificent Bastard Productions is the genuinely hilarious combination of an entirely serious Shakespeare play with an entirely shit-faced (drunken) actor. What could go wrong?
Ever felt like you should be better at feminism? Join comedian Deborah Frances-White and a guest host for her comedy podcast, recorded in front of a live audience.
The UK's leading comedian/magician returns to the Underbelly Festival with his critically acclaimed live show. Recently seen on ITV1’s The Next Great Magician and BBC1’s Let’s Sing & Dance for Comic Relief. Expect Pete's trademark blend of crowd-pleasing comedy and jaw-dropping magic.
As featured in the Guardian’s Top 10 Comedy Shows of 2016. Expect a sordid soirée full of skilful sketches and brilliant performances weaved within a narrative of underlying aggression between Norris & Parker – and if that wasn’t enough, there are songs too.
Multi award-winning fringe sensation Margaret Thatcher Queen of Soho returns with the most fabulous game show of all! Join the Iron Lady for songs, games and catchphrases as audience members compete for their golden giro cheque! (It's really very funny).
International stand up sensation Gina Yashere is back on the Southbank, but for three shows only. After a couple of years travelling around the globe, Gina returns to her home town with some hysterical tales to tell.
Publican. Politician. Other thing beginning with P. Philosopher, yeah, that. The nation’s critically acclaimed bar-based-braveheart, Al Murray – The Pub Landlord – embarks on a commonsense campaign to re-Great Britain.
'Nish Kumar, James Acaster, Tom Allen and Bec Hill are among the big-name comics giving up an hour of their time to bring comedy to the juvenile masses; an inspired idea, and it’s almost always of equal delight for parents too.'
Spectacular street-dance and breathtaking circus combine to bring Kipling’s classic tale crashing into the 21st Century. Fresh from its international tour, award-winning Metta Theatre’s critically acclaimed production of The Jungle Book returns to the Underbelly Festival by popular demand to delight the whole family.
Marina Skippett creeps out at night to tap-dance on the boardwalk to the sounds of the sea. She can’t tap dance at home anymore since her evil Aunty banned it, threatening to feed Marina’s dinners to the dog. But then, one magical night, Marina meets a mysterious, magical boy swimming alone and her life is never the same again! “THE TAP DANCING MERMAID” by Tessa Bide, makes a splash at Southbank presented by Pigtails Productions in association with Redgrave Theatre, on the road again following sell-out UK tours.
|What||Underbelly Festival 2017, Southbank|
Belvedere Road, London, SE1 8XX | MAP
|Nearest tube||Waterloo (underground)|
28 Apr 17 – 30 Sep 17, Show times vary
|Website||Click here to book via Culture Whisper and See Tickets|