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Underbelly Festival, 2024
Photo: Craig Sugden

Exclusive: Underbelly Festival returns to London this summer

After skipping 2023, the mini fringe festival returns for a summer of cabaret, circus and kids’ shows

Andrzej Lukowski
Written by
Andrzej Lukowski

After sitting 2023 out, the Underbelly Festival will return to Cavendish Square near Oxford Street with an eclectic but typically upbeat, fun-oriented mix of circus, kids’ shows and cabaret for adults. 

Running all summer, the vibe is very much ‘the Edinburgh Fringe if you’re not going to the Edinburgh Fringe’, with the action taking place inside the Underbelly’s ornate pop-up Spiegeltent venue. There’s also a concerted effort to give it all a festival vibe, with food and drink vendors outside and a deckchair area to relax in.

There’s nothing even close to the volume of shows you get at the Fringe, but the hit rate is definitely higher and as a little slice of the summer festival season in central London it’s hard to argue with.

Highlights for adults include ‘Dizney in Drag: Once Upon a Parody’ (Jul 4-14) a pantomime parody of Disney’s greatest hits and their most memorable songs and queer pan-Asian cabaret ‘The Bitten Peach’ (Sep 6-21).

Families can enjoy a couple of circus shows: ‘Tweedy’s Massive Circus’ (Jul 18-27) takes place in a circus where everything has shrunk and thus appears massive; ‘YUCK Circus’ (Aug 28-Sep 8) are a group of comedic female acrobats who’ve won acclaim all over the world.

A few short run kids shows have also been announced: ‘Mr Sleepybum’ (Jul 6-7), Baby Loves Disco’ (Jul 14, Aug 31 and Sep 15) andShelf: The Kids’ Show’ (Sep 21). 

That’s yer initial announcement, with more shows to be confirmed in due course.

Underbelly Festival is at Cavendish Square, Jul 4-Sep 21. Book tickets and see up-to-date line-up here.

The best new London theatre shows to book for in 2024.

The National Theatre’s River Stage has announced its 2024 line-up.

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