In Bubble Trouble, Poppy Bubbles, Bubbletown’s Bubbliest Bubbleologist, races against the clock to complete a series of bubble-based tasks, hoping to impress Professor Bubbles (offstage: this is a one-woman show) and so win herself a job at the Prof’s prestigious bubble-lab. Got that? With stakes this high, it is imperative that Poppy utilises the labour of some children (yours) who happen to have been passing. If this premise seems unnecessary and convoluted, well, fellow adult, I couldn’t agree more. Yet younger minds grab the wacky plot and run with it. When Poppy (spoiler alert) gets a letter from the Prof himself, welcoming her to the team, and so thanks the children – whom she “couldn’t have done it” without – there is high-octane jubilation. “Poppy got a bubble job,” my small being told me with satisfaction, after the show. “She’s gonna be famous, cozza we helped!”
No sneaky jokes for the grown-ups here, no laughs at the expense of the kids, instead plenty of the type of jokes that even three-year-olds get without explanation. There are regular opportunities to participate, not only onstage but from the audience. Each child gets their own bubbles to take home, there are stickers for helping, and the souvenirs available to purchase after the show are only fifty pence. Parents who’ve had otherwise jolly excursions ruined on point of exit through the gift shop will surely appreciate these details.
If yours is the type of child who’ll go Full Metal Jacket if they aren’t picked, bring them to Bubble Trouble: the venue is intimate enough to give each little extrovert his or her moment. If your child shouts out “helpful” advice to performers, or has difficulty staying in their seat, Bubble Trouble is absolutely the show to take them to. Poppy fields (lol) contributions from younger audience members, engaging with the upstarts as though they were veritable bubble-geniuses. Sure, other bubble experts in flashier venues may well leave you in awe of their bubble prowess and impressive looking bubble-gizmos, Poppy Bubbles demonstrates the how of things: the physics behind bubbles, how to make your own bubble toys with everyday items (like odd socks, plastic bottles and elastic bands) and a variety of bubble tricks you can do with just your hands. The show features many of the tricks – square bubbles, giant bubbles, bubbles inside bubbles, kids inside of bubbles – that bigger acts do, but the vibe is extremely DIY, with homemade props and hand-painted cardboard signs. To be a kvetch, Poppy’s costume has a well-worn look to it, but then she’s a (bubble) scientist, not a (bubble) model, so perhaps it shouldn’t matter.
Bubble Trouble might a small budget show, but you’d be hard pushed to find more bubbles for your buck in Edinburgh this August.