Having delighted audiences in multiple Fringe outings, SOAP returns once more in 2017 to dazzle crowds with its daring, bathtub-based performance.
The humble bathtub is not the first thing one thinks of when pondering potential performance spaces. Aside from bubbles, rubber ducks or (god forbid) a calamitous slip, what activity could the ancient bathing apparatus provide? It was SOAP, the energetic, high flying and sopping wet theatrical performance that proved the bathtub’s mettle on stage.
“Bathtubs have been part of our creative process for a long time,” SOAP co-director Markus Pabst tells The Adelaide Review. It was a sudden realisation for Pabst, that indeed, bathtubs were under-appreciated outside of the bathroom, and very rarely seen on stage. Pabst says that his team developed an act based entirely around a tub, and went on to tour it around Europe.
“Many years ago, we created a straps act above a bathtub and presented it to her Majesty the Queen at the Royal Variety Performance and she was totally excited and amazed,” says Pabst. Queen Elizabeth’s blessing is evidently a strong motivator, as from that point Pabst realised “we should really do a full show dedicated to this wonderful prop”. While it might seem a restrictive apparatus, Pabst says the tub “allows us to be sensual in a very intimate and personal way”.
“Every audience member, from young children to adults and grandparents, has a relationship to our toy.” says Pabst. “They all know how it feels to be in it and they can easily identify with anything we do with it and share our humour and understand our jokes.”
A box-office hit in the 2015 Fringe, SOAP will return with some squeaky clean tricks to show Adelaide audiences. Keeping things fresh is important to Pabst, who says that the show is under constant renovation.
“Every time we perform SOAP, we add a few small things,” he explains. “We improve the show a little bit. We change the running order to make it smoother. We introduce a new performer and he or she brings additional skills or a different joke or another personality to the show.”
Having toured to world to excite (and soak) global audiences, SOAP returns to Adelaide lathered up and ready to dive right in once more. Asked how those international groups have responded to the show, Pabst says “audiences everywhere around the world, be it in Asia, Oceania, the Americas or Europe, react strongly and in a similar way.”
“We do matinees for families and adult only audiences late at night with exactly the same show, but the audience reactions in the same city on the same day can be very different.”
And Australian audiences?
“The Australian audiences by comparison are a bit more spontaneous, faster and sometimes they even laugh before the joke. But our experience is that everywhere in the world, people enjoy beautiful bodies of skilled performers, especially in combination with water, non-verbal or physical humour and a very special soundtrack.”
The Peacock, Gluttony, Rymill Park
Friday, February 17 until Sunday, March 19