Another Summer Of Udderbelly Laughs At The Southbank

Lettie Mckie
By Lettie Mckie Last edited 21 months ago
Another Summer Of Udderbelly Laughs At The Southbank

Who would have thought that a giant purple marquee, shaped like an upended cow, would one day become as synonymous with summer in London as melting ice cream and unbearably hot tube journeys?

But it's true. Udderbelly Festival, the sister of Edinburgh Fringe's Underbelly, will once again be setting up shop on the Southbank.

The purple cow's back in residence from 7 April until 17 July, accompanied by the cheeky pastiche of a Victorian fairground that is London Wonderground (5 May-25 September).

Now in its 8th year, Udderbelly dishes out a ridiculous cacophony of acts that range from theatre, circus and comedy to sketch improv, spoken word and totally indefinable mash-ups of all of the above.

Big names in the line-up include Jason Byrne, James Acaster and Nina Conti but Udderbelly also features many of Edinburgh 2015's biggest new stars, including acapella group Gobsmacked and comedian Felicity Ward.

This year also sees the return of many firm favourites from previous festivals including Jane Austen inspired improv troupe Austentatious and a live version of epic 90s kids show Knightmare. For families there is The Amazing Bubble Man, who we've been confidently told can do some pretty mindblowing things with a bucket of soapy water.

Tickets have been on sale since January but there is still plenty of time to bag a slice of the action.

Graze our top picks now and get booking for a moo-vellous time on those longed-for summer evenings. We promise they're just around the corner...

Closer by Circa
Circa's acrobats perform breathtakingly close to the audience in a stripped back show that has been specifically designed for the Udderbelly tent and focuses in on the performers' skills. Director Yaron Lipfschitz says "our artists do amazing things with their bodies and circus apparatus".
7 April-12 June (times vary)

Wi-fi Wars
A live comedy game show that lets the whole audience take part in a series of challenges via smartphone or tablet to win prizes. Hosted by Steve McNeil and Rob Sedgebeer, the brains behind the game technology.
22 April-1 July (10.45pm)

Massive Lazy Girls
Three critically acclaimed sketch groups Massive Dad, Lazy Susan and Birthday Girls join forces for one night only.
11 May (9pm)

Nina Conti: In Your Face
Ventriloquist comedian Nina Conti improvises a new show each night by plucking inspiration from the audience. Strap into the mask as Nina gets in your face, armed only with her Monkey and a bag of tricks. Truly anything can happen.
13-14 June (7.30pm)  

Knightmare Live
For anyone who grew up watching the original show in the 90s, Knightmare Live will fulfil long held childhood ambitions as audience members have the chance to compete in the quest. Every show is different, each room holding a new challenge. Enter Stranger, don the Helmet of Justice and hold up the Eye Shield, how long will you last?
24 April-17 July (7.45pm)  

Felicity Ward: What if There's no Toilet?
One of Edinburgh 2015's biggest comedy stars, Felicity Ward is making her Udderbelly debut. She finds humour in an unusual place taking inspiration from her own struggles with anxiety, depression and irritable bowel syndrome.
20 May (9pm)

The Amazing Bubble Man
Rumour has it this guy can encase entire children in his giant bubbles. Louis Pearl explores the breathtaking dynamics of bubbles, combining comedy, science and artistry with audience participation and enough spellbinding bubble tricks to keep everyone mesmerised.
15-24 April (times vary)

Hal Cruttenden
Book early for an evening of rapid fire ranting bile against the modern world with Live at the Apollo host and Radio 4 favourite Hal Cruttenden. Expect scathing satire on all things 21st century, from social media to the 5:2 diet.
21 May (7.45pm)

Austentatious: An Improvised Jane Austen Novel
Prepare to get your bonnet in a twist as Austentatious return to the Southbank in resplendent fashion. Each night the cast will improvise a brand new Jane Austen work based on audience suggestions. Previous ‘lost’ masterpieces have included Sixth Sense & Sensibility, Double 0 Darcy and Mansfield Shark.
22 June-14 July (9.15pm)

Gobsmacked
From the producers of the Soweto Gospel Choir comes a cast of singers and beatboxers who present all forms of acappella, from traditional street corner harmonies to cutting edge multi-track live looping.
16 June-17 July (times vary)

Festival of the Spoken Nerd: Just for Graphs 2
Another Udderbelly favourite, the nerds are back with a new selection of graph-a-minute experiments, songs, mind-bending maths and fire-fuelled fun. Experience the “Joy of X” with stand-up mathematician Matt Parker, experiments maestro Steve Mould and geek songstress Helen Arney. It’s off the chart!
20 April-13 July (9pm)

Last Updated 21 March 2016