Soap’s reputation as a “must-see” on the Fringe calendar has lingered since the show first played in Adelaide three years ago.
In a program full of “physical-theatre-come-cabaret-come-circus” shows, I was anticipating something unique and visually exciting which would stand out in the crowd. My expectations were both exceeded and disappointed.
The show was supposed to start at 8.30pm, and I was there in plenty of time to join the already lengthy queue (hint: don’t be late, it’s a big venue and you will sit where you are told by the ushers). While the doors did open at the scheduled start time, it was another 20 minutes – during which audience members were packed into the crowded, but surprisingly cool, marquee – before Soap finally began.
An opera singer opened with an aria and my senses tingled. It was beautiful in every sense of the word: her stage presence, her voice, the lighting and a simple stage set with white bathtubs. The artists began their elegant and cheeky choreography: beautiful bodies in seemingly effortless routines that balanced delicately between mischievous fun and graceful strength, flexibility and skill.
Played out to a soundtrack that perfectly blends funky, chic recordings with live opera, Soap is as nourishing for the ears as it is for the eyes. It is impossible to overstate the importance this plays in immersing the audience in the moment.
And then there was the slapstick. In my view, it was neither necessary nor funny. The show, by its nature, holds an inherent and subtle humour, but the constant shrills of the “clown-esque” character are distracting and annoying. I could forgive it being a small break in the intensity of the overall performance, but it was continuous and left me wondering if I would happily recommend the show to others.
The show climaxed with what I had been hoping would fill the entire hour: an intense, water-filled, grungy routine… intense music, intense lighting, intense choreography. It was sexy and invigorating. More of this please!
Soap is playing in The Panama Club at the Royal Croquet Club until March 15.
See InDaily’s 2015 Adelaide Fringe hub for all our reviews and interviews.
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