Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh Fringe Festival; 7th August 2014
‘Let’s get down to it!’ From the first moment The Amazing Bubble Man (Louis Pearl) appears on the large stage of the crowded Music Hall at the Assembly Rooms, he has a genuine rapport with us, which he continues to build throughout his wonderous demonstrations of shimmering soap bubble magic.
With little bits of science and a lot of bubble-kissing, he wows us with a startling variety of bubble behaviour, engaging all ages both in the seats and on the stage with him. He has a quick street entertainer’s banter, and I’m impressed that, as an American, he plays with our traditional British panto conventions. (I also wonder if it’s a cultural thing that prompts him to clarify every aspect of health & safety against any possible litigation claim – but it must be reassuring for the parents whose excited offspring get invited up on stage).
Pearl spins miniature stories around his bubble family, improvising with their unpredictable nature, and keeping up a strong pace that doesn’t allow for a moment’s boredom. Lasers, smoke machines, and the kitchen scrubbing brush all come into play as he treats us to ‘The Torcano’, the ‘Rotting Fish Bubble’, ‘Uphill Bubble Rolling’ and other surprising creations.
The Bubble Man gauges his audience well, and is considerate of the whole room, not just those in the slosh zone closest to the stage. He really listens and pays attention to all of his volunteers, clearly explaining their roles as various members of the audience become bubble scientists, or are decked out in bubble couture.
The show is as entertaining for families as for the little ones, with lots of laughter, oohs and ahs. It builds to a glittering, twinkling finalé, and I’m reminded again why bubbles are one of my favourite things.