Louis Pearl has the demeanour of an endlessly entertaining uncle at a Sunday lunch. He has tricks, he has jokes and he is not easily phased by anything. Not by the fact that he has over 400 people – many of whom are restless children – in the audience, or even by the fact he has forgotten a key prop offstage. He simply talks his way out of it and makes it feel part of the proceedings.
He loves bubbles, he tells us. For the sixty minutes he is on stage he is busily working his way through a series of bubble-making devices – many of which are his own creations – but the predominating feeling is certainly one of personal pleasure rather than hard work. Some Pearl-quirks include blowing bubbles through a washing up brush and a croc shoe.
There is audience participation in this show too but it’s mostly filled with enthusiasm and glee. Children get to kiss balloons, be inside them and even assist in some cheekier stints. That said, adults are not completely spared from having fun onstage either.
In between, Pearl tells us how he became the ‘Bubble Man’. It is an American-style rags-to-riches story of an unemployed English graduate who turned his hobby into an internationally successful business and then quit the business in order to keep the part of it that he loved – blowing bubbles.
Given the spectacle and the very skilled audience rapport, there is a sense of a street performance to this show, however a running pseudo-scientific commentary and the technically sophisticated elements of the demonstration itself (soap bubbles in combination with dry ice and fluorescent lights) go some way to justify the need for an indoors venue. If nothing else, it gives the audience a chance to blow the rooftop off with excitement when the right moment arrives.
Overall, this is a well crafted show with some clever repartee and charming ideas. Pearl’s laid back approach did test the concentration spans of the youngest audience members, but he can probably be forgiven for this after a decade of sell out family entertainment.
The Amazing Bubble Man is on at Underbelly until 28th August. Click here for more details.