Belt Up

Acclaimed audience-centric company returns to the Fringe with nine shows

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This article is from 2010.

Belt Up

Remember that unruly rabble that spent last August squatting in C Soco? The ones that kept partying and fighting the nights away with hordes of strangers? Well, they’re back, and this time they’re really making themselves at home.

The rabble in question could only be Belt Up, whose jam-packed programmes of audience-centric work at the last two Fringes converted critics and the public alike.

The company’s MO is to take over some remote corner of C Venues to serve as the setting for all their shows; this year, a section of C Soco becomes The House Above, a kitsch and cosy domicile complete with garden. It’s in the company’s interests to make the place feel like home. With an incredible nine shows on the bill, plus their usual array of secret late-night events, they’ll be near-permanent residents there.

‘We have a knack for casting people with superhuman strength and infinite energy,’ shrugs James Wilkes, one of Belt Up’s founding writer-director-performers, as if such übermensch are ten a penny on CastingCallPro. ‘And nothing’s more energising than a good audience.’

The audience is the backbone of every Belt Up show. Every day in The House Above, audiences will become figments of a narcissistic artist’s imagination (in Wilkes’ brand new Atrium), mourners at princess Antigone’s wake (in Alexander Wright’s adaptation of Sophocles’ Antigone), houseguests of the Samsa family (in an updated version of Metamorphosis, the production that launched the company at the NSDF in 2008) – and in Dominic J Allen’s Lorca Is Dead, the entire audience, as a collective, will become the Surrealist poet Federico Garcia Lorca.

If that sounds exhausting, take heart: Wilkes is prepared to reveal the true source of Belt Up’s superhuman endurance. He admits: ‘A lot of us consume a lot of Berocca...’

C Soco, 0845 260 1234, until 30 Aug, times and dates of individual shows vary, £8.50–£11.50 (£8.50–£9.50).

This article is from 2010.

Belt Up's 'Antigone'

Critically acclaimed company return with dynamic and rejuvenating rendition of Sophocles' masterpiece. A melodic portrait of a family in the wake of devastation. Edinburgh International Festival Award winners 2008. Book early. 'Exhilarating' ★★★★ (Guardian on 'The Trial'). This show takes place as part of Belt Up's…

Belt Up's 'Atrium'

  • 3 stars

Viciously dark and brutally gruesome comedy, in which the line between reality and surreality fizzles out in front of your eyes. A new play from the 'inventiveness and comic brilliance' (WhatsOnStage.com) of James Wilkes ('The Tartuffe'). This show takes place as part of Belt Up's ambitious programme for The House Above…

Belt Up's 'Lorca is Dead'

  • 3 stars

The anarchic and frantic attempts of the Paris Surrealists to tell the story of the death of Lorca. From award-winning Belt Up Theatre: 'One of the hottest tickets on the Fringe' ★★★★★ (WhatsOnStage.com on 'The Tartuffe'). This show takes place as part of Belt Up's ambitious programme for The House Above - a unique…

Belt Up's 'Metamorphosis'

Experience the 'shock and awe' (Sunday Times) of this acclaimed restaging of Kafka's parable. The Samsas invite you into their home. Settle in as a theatrical explosion unravels around you. 'Impressive, invigorating, inspirational' (Scotsman on 'The Tartuffe'). This show takes place as part of Belt Up's ambitious…

Belt Up's 'Octavia'

  • 2 stars

Magically interactive feast for the imagination from the ensemble the Scotsman promises you'll find 'impossible not to be swept along by.' The first family show from EIF award winners 2008. An enchanting fairytale for all ages. This show takes place as part of Belt Up's ambitious programme for The House Above - a unique…

Belt Up's 'Odyssey'

Enter a world of broken dreams. Dystopic re-imagining of the world of Homer's 'Odyssey' told through the eyes of a homeward-bound traveller. Keep your eye peeled. 'A terrifying vision' ★★★★ (Lyn Gardner, Guardian, 'The Trial'). This show takes place as part of Belt Up's ambitious programme for The House Above - a unique…

Belt Up's 'Quasimodo'

  • 3 stars

Claustrophobically intimate new adaptation of Hugo's classic story from the company the List promises are capable of making 'the impossible possible.' A truly horrifying and emotionally devastating tale performed by ThreeWeeks Editor's Choice award winners 2008. This show takes place as part of Belt Up's ambitious…

Belt Up's 'The Boy James'

Intimate new piece inspired by the life and works of J M Barrie. A confronting, unsettling, moving examination of the necessity to grow up from one of Lyn Gardner's (Guardian) Companies to Watch 2009. This show takes place as part of Belt Up's ambitious programme for The House Above - a unique theatrical environment…

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