Soho the show at the Peacock Theatre, London

Not just dance and not just circus. This is dance with serious acrobatics, circus with character and all through social comment and much humour. Plus a dash of nostalgia for old Soho, including Madame Jojos and the quieter side of life in Soho Square. The language of dance and circus portraying vividly the rush of complex experiences and emotions of inner-city life lived to the max.

Starting with an evocation of the archetypal tube journey, close-packed people with barely-suppressed lust, Soho the show moved deftly through a memorable homage to gay gyms, the real athletics of very accomplished circus athletes proving a cutting caricature of the strutting and token effort at gym routines some of these places are known for. On via a freaky portrayal of times in Soho Square to Bowie’s track “Changes” to a night-time mugging to music from Mozart’s Requiem, neatly cutting the music at the murderous climax. A nice touch setting this scene at the blue plaque noting where Mozart resided in London.
After the interval, a bathroom scene in underwear with hilariously accurate posing on the china, sound effects to match, evoking the pressures of living in shared accommodation and in particular sharing the bathroom. This being London, the characters went on out in to the world to their various passions and pursuits. The language of dance and circus theatre showed the burlesque and the serious sides of these lifestyles. A dance with plastic beer crates being juggled offset by a pair of knife juggling chefs made the Chinatown scene memorable and apt but there were numerous other stunning cameo performances too. A coy Cha-cha about a pick-up that would have the judges on “Strictly Come Dancing” in apoplexy.
Dance theatre with very few holds barred gave a steamy rendition of the erotic (some might say seedy) side of Soho. A coy Cha-cha about a pick-up, to the track “Anything Goes” that would have the judges on “Strictly Come Dancing” in apoplexy.
Us audience were guided throughout by a couple of subtle link characters, a sort of Lucky Man and a burly security man (so happily not Pearly Kings or Queens).
Quite the most successful video projection scenery I’ve seen for some while: fluidly morphing between scenes and convincing varying false perspective with additional interest from movement of the cyc cloth, whether intentional or fortuitous
Not sure the foreigners and out-of-towers in the audience understood anything more than the spectacular athleticism and maybe the language of some of the dance, as so many of the references were oblique or historic. But showcasing the variety and depth that is Soho is what this show is about and from the warm and appreciative applause throughout that surely hit home with this first night audience.
Don't let the "dance" word put you off, this is a spectacular show by circus athletes as well as dancers. That’s on the stage, on trapezes and on a pole.

Thanks to Piergiorgio

Sadler's Wells in association with the National Centre for Circus Arts and Stufish productions
Production Director: Paul Cockle (Stufish)