I wasn’t sure quite what to expect from Soap, billed as an acrobatic extravaganza in bathtubs. Why bathtubs? But it worked so well.
Soap is a well-crafted show featuring eight incredibly talented performers, which manages to be in turns breathtaking, funny, joyful, sensual, beautiful and clever.
The format is a series of performance skits incorporating gymnastics, rope work, juggling, clowning, trapeeze, foot juggling (surprisingly cool), opera singing and water, water everywhere.
To offset the precision physicality on display, the action is tied together by a female clown who manages to be cute, naughty and highly amusing without ever becoming annoying or twee – tough to do but she makes it look easy. As do all the performers.
The industrial set – seven bathtubs (six on stage, one on the ceiling), pipes and ship-like funnels – adds to the cutting-edge feel, as does the music at times. At other moments, we get a selection of 50s be-bop (Bobby Darin’s 1958 hit Splish Splash I was Taking A Bath) mixed with classical tunes from a soprano dressed in London’s most glamorous shower curtain.
Meanwhile the acrobats’ top-flight gymnastics were made more difficult (I imagine) but also more thrilling by the presence of H20, either in their tubs or raining from above. On dry land, this show would be impressive. Add water, and it’s nothing short of awe inspiring.
To experience Soap for yourself at Riverside Studios in Hammersmith until 25 April, buy your Tickets to Soap today ( £20+bf).