The Udderbelly’s back! The giant purple cow of comedy opened last night, and we were there for the launch party, lapping up too many free pints of Foster’s. But if you’re reading this and asking yourself, ‘Giant purple cow? What is this “Udderbelly”?’ Well, here’s what you need to know…
So what is that massive, garish supine creature behind the London Eye?
Plenty of folk have asked themselves that exact question while walking over Hungerford Bridge or from the top deck of the No 12 bus (or, if you’re like me, on your way to County Hall to ride the dodgems). Well, fellow bumper-car fanatic, that’s the Udderbelly: a giant, inflatable, 400-seat pop-up venue, which settles on the South Bank each spring. It plays host to around 60 different shows: circus spectacles, kid-friendly theatre, the odd music gig and comedy. Lots of comedy. The programme is mainly comedy, in fact.
Comedy, you say? Like who?
We’ve picked our favourite shows from the 2014 programme below. But the big names include grouchy Irishman Ed Byrne, actor-comedian Omid Djalili, jazz-comedy hybrid merchants The Horne Section and superb ventriloquist Nina Conti.
Yeah, yeah… I get the idea. But is there alcohol?
This is a pop-up venue in London. Of course there’s alcohol! Bars aplenty, serving the golden nectar of Foster’s… plus, you know, classier beverages. You don’t need a ticket to a show to sup a pint in the outdoor ‘pasture’, and there are food stalls, too.
So there’s laughs, liquor and a large piece of livestock. Anything else I need to know?
Only that the big moo’s sat in Jubilee Gardens on the South Bank. Plus, come May 7, another pop-up – the London Wonderground – parks itself beside the cow. It’s a beautiful spiegeltent that plays host to cabaret artistes galore, as well as comedy from Al Murray the Pub Landlord and more, until September 28. But until then, do have a cow, man. Ben Williams
Have a butcher’s at our guide to the Udderbelly Festival and see the full list of shows.
Our top comedy picks for Udderbelly:
Astonishingly impressive improvised comedy rap.
Jawdropping tricks and cheeky innuendos. What a card…
Uncompromising, emotional and cat-obsessed stories.
Get nostalgic at the live comedy version of the iconic kids’ TV show.
Jun 6, 13 and 20.
Inspired ‘shouty bollocks’ from this Canadian loon.