Mad cow season is upon us again as the Udderbelly returns to the Southbank this Thursday for a bigger than ever 15 week residency. The enormous magenta stage, shaped like a spread-eagled heffer, will host a nose-to-tail feast of comedy, circus and family acts. But with so much going on it can be tricky to decide which shows to put in your
dairy diary. To help, here’s a few things we’re especially looking forward to.
Comedy-wise, there’s Irish comic Andrew Maxwell with his capital-oriented show London Loves. Sara Pascoe vs History will take a look at our collective biological history and how it affects our relationships. Make time to catch-up with old school friends Max and Ivan: The Reunion, their acclaimed show nominated for Edinburgh's main award in 2013. With politics taking centre-stage at the moment, it may also be worth catching Andy Zaltzman, who’s doing a bunch of election specials along with comedy guests. Then there’s nerdy comic James Acaster, thrice-nominated for the top award at the Edinburgh Festival, with a brand new show. There’s also Kraken from celebrated Kiwi clown Trygve Wakenshaw.
A couple of comedy troupes to look out for include Austentatious who improvise 'lost' Jane Austen novels. This one isn’t quite as focussed as it may sound since the titles come from the audience so anything topical can get the frilly period treatment. More obviously up to date are Late Night Gimp Fight.
For something more alternative, maybe try This Is Your Trial where the audience are put in the dock; or John Robertson's The Dark Room, a show which is structured like a video game so the audience can choose its own adventure.
For kids there’s Funz and Gamez, winner of this year's Edinburgh Panel Prize, which is definitely worth taking the little ones to, but adults may find it a little like Alan Partridge hosting a kids' TV show. There’s also Bec and Tom's Awesome Laundry, always a family favourite.
There are also a couple of rowdy circuses to watch out for including Bromance, A Simple Space and Circus Geeks (below).
These suggestions however are really just the tip of the milk-float, so you might want to work your way through the full programme here. Or you could try the opening gala on Thursday, which features shorter sets by a variety of acts.
Underbelly runs from Thursday 9 April until Sunday 19 July at the Southbank. Tickets are various prices, see the website for full details.