Sense of wonder: Louis Pearl (Bubble Man) masterfully unfolds a bubble spectacular
The Amazing Bubble Man
Earl Cameron Theatre
The show is a two-hander: First, Louis Pearl (Bubble Man) resembles a distrait professor in overalls with a shooting cap on his head backwards. He slowly wanders on stage around what looks like a physics lab, unfolding a symphonic 50-part bubble spectacle, which builds in complexity to explore the frontiers of what is physically possible.
Second, musician Jetty Swart (Jet Black Pearl) masterfully accompanies him using synthesised, voice, flutes and accordion to build tension and create atmosphere and continuity.
There is also a third part, played by the children and adults invited on stage to take part in the show. They find themselves encased in enormous bubble membranes, sprouting crowns, diadems and rabbit or Mickey Mouse ears, sometimes even being squirted “accidentally” with water, to the delight of the audience.
There is one thing about bubbles: whatever their size, they are reassuringly impermanent and can always be dispelled with a judicious puff of breath or a poke with a finger, as the children were delighted to demonstrate.
It is their transience that makes us appreciate all the more their intrinsic beauty, which Pearl explores in some of his creations. Smoke and helium-filled spheres resembling vast opals float up to disappear in a puff of smoke among the theatrical spotlights to massive applause.
Swart’s Arabian Nights-style riffs are the perfect accompaniment to this spectacle. As the show builds to its crescendo through a series of unforgettable activities with bubbles: juggling, playing tennis, and finally creating a smoke and laser-lit UFO, children and adults alike realise that by the end of the evening Pearl and Swart have instilled in all of us a sense of wonder.
This magical evening is the pure expression of a performance tradition which comes down to us from the dawn of history.