Brighton Fringe 2017
The Amazing Bubble Man, a.k.a.Louis Pearl, is indeed amazing.
We are wooed to the music of Jet Black Pearl on her flute, voice, and accordion as she accompanies the balletic creation of a vast array of bubble-based phenomena.
It has to be said, the Amazing Bubble Man is Amazing, though he said so himself.
Take one large North American, A lot of soap solution, 30 or 40 small children, their slightly tired and fractious parents, and lots of little, medium-sized, large, and huge holes through which to blow bubbles, alongside pipes supplying smoke, and helium, and you’ve got a combination for a great show that combines entertainment with science with spectacle.
The amazing bubble man, a.k.a.Louis Pearl, is a craftsman, an artist, a technician, a dab hand at handling not just perfectly mixed soap solution, and wayward bubbles, but also wayward and mixed children.
We are wooed to the music of Jet Black Pearl (presumably a relation) on her flute, voice, and accordion as she accompanies the pearlitic balletic creation of a vast array of bubble-based phenomena.
From simply thousands of bubbles, to bubbles big enough to climb into, to space ships that float to the ceiling held up by helium, to smoke-filled creations that wobble like jellies, to antennae attached to the heads of children, to floppy bunnies ears attached to the heads of children, to kissing bubbles, watching bursting soap-solution films use their surface tension to pull a train of other bubbles up a slanted funicular railway track, and many many more fun creations.
We witnessed mini tornadoes inside smoky domes, foamy brains, laser-lit disco balls made out of bubbles, and more, and more. And more.
The children cooed in delight, the parents scrabbled to keep the children off the stage, Pearl commanded complete authority with loud barks and some dry and slightly black humour, and Jet Black played with her fine cabaret-style music.
Alongside about a third of the children in the room, in the Speigeltent down by the Fountain at the Old Steine, my four-year-old, after about 30 minutes, started to lose interest, whilst other children stayed engaged.
As a former scientist, I appreciated all the uses of scientific principle, and was impressed by this man’s perfect understanding of the medium, and how to sculpt and moulded into creations of intricacy.
It was good, it was fun. But like any firework display, after a while I do tend to switch off. But that’s me. Like my daughter I tend to prefer narrative and plot over specialist feats and pretty shapes.
I also like to be moved by what I witness. I was wowed quite a lot, but wasn’t quite moved. I’ve also given up science. Not Louis’ fault, but it doesn’t move me in the way it used to. How Louis could incorporate emotional narrative or whether he ever should are two moot points that he’s probably not too worried about considering his prowess and success. However, I remember my littlest once attending a weekly musical group for toddlers whereby the leader got the room quiet, and played some really simple music, whilst allowing the stilled children to be gently rained upon by bubbles. It was very simple, but so effective, and incredibly moving.
Louis on this day was mostly shouty, and a bit brash and bullish, and he seemed to have no expectations that the room could do “stillness” and in that stillness, “awe”. Maybe he’s being realistic.
Maybe it’s something he could explore?
More objectively….slightly problematic was that several of the spectacles and special effects required complete blackout. Sadly we were in a Speigeltent which had no blackout and a late afternoon sun shining full blast through the upper windows.
So… to be fair… those who enjoy a surfeit of bubbles, a surplus of bubbles? Well…. coming to the Amazing Bubble Man you’re never going to be disappointed and otherwise it all pretty much hit the bubbly mark. I was happily impressed by some of the effects that I’d not seen before. (the mini bubble-encased smokey tornado I liked, alongside the rising rocket that emitted smoke from its base as it ascended.)
After the “Two thousand bubbles” finale… We all went home tired, happy and very satisfied that we’d really DONE bubbles that day, well and good! Lovely!