A packed room at Gilded Balloon’s new Patter Hoose venue shows that even a rainy Friday morning can’t dampen the enthusiasm for bubbles. Children from babes in arms to a couple of glum looking teenagers pile into the seats and await the latest offering from Fringe regulars, Milkshake and Dr Bubble.
A fantastic combination of bubble shenanigans and puppetry
After a short, enthusiastic intro and safety brief from Kurt Murray’s Dr Bubble (the stage can get slippery, kids), we get right into the action. This show is a fantastic combination of bubble shenanigans and puppetry used to tell the Hans Christian Andersen parable of The Little Match Girl. I wonder at first if they will veer away from the darker elements of the tale but we get the full thing, including the famously bittersweet ending, told as a bedtime story for an adorable puppet of co-performer, Milkshake as played by Julia Benze.
The bubble element is initially incorporated as the visions the little girl sees as she lights her last few matches in order to stay warm. Murray is a talented manipulator of soapy bubbles and the children (and adults) squeal and cheer with delight. Benze appears as the little girl’s grandmother and, with a bit of cheeky humour, deftly positioned for the comedy sensibilities of small children, the bubble antics begin in earnest.
Huge bubbles drift across the stage, tiny swarms of bubbles represent a snowstorm, and there is even some tricks with surface tension that seem like magic. There’s a few opportunities for children in the audience to get onstage and get involved and a finale that sees thousands of bubbles flood the space. After the show there’s a lovely opportunity for a photo as Benze offers everyone the chance to step inside a giant bubble of their own. I made my exit but, to be honest, I really wanted a go.