Wednesday, 8 April 2015

INTERVIEW - Bubbleman

DID you know that there was such a person as a Bubbleologist? Well there is, and his name is Louis Pearl.
The American, a former toy inventor and seller, has been delighting family audiences around the world with his unique bubble shows for 30 years.
And South Londoners will get a chance to see him when he brings his entertaining mix of bubbles, tricks, comedy and science to the Udderbelly Festival this month.
"I can't wait," he enthuses as we chat ahead of the show. "What could be more fun for a kid than seeing bubbles being made in the belly of an inflatable purple cow?
"It's absolutely the best place to do this show and my favourite venue in the UK. There are 400 seats so I can see everyone and they can see me. It's also has the best atmosphere."
It turns out atmosphere is all important if the bubbles are to be their best.
"It's impossible to do a show and create bubbles if there is air conditioning on," says Louis. "The Udderbelly venue is perfect as the air temperature is just right and there is no breeze.
"One of the most important ingredients is humidity as bubbles work best if there is humidity."
So how do you get the perfect bubble?
"The solution is key,” he says. “I prefer to use Fairy Liquid – about 16 parts water to one part Fairy.
"To make the bubbles stay moist and to stop them drying out, I also recommend adding some glycerine.
“But to get the super big bubbles and to get the solution to stretch, you need to add gums such as guar or zanthan gum. Polymers are the secret ingredient.
“It’s all about experimenting though and when I first started out that was what I was doing. In fact my kitchen still looks like a chemistry lab as I still experiment.
“But it’s a lot of fun," he adds chuckling. “I have the best job! I get to go all around the world, play with bubbles and make people laugh. What could be better?”
The show will explore the breath-taking dynamics of bubbles, combine comedy and artistry with audience participation and enough spellbinding bubble tricks to keep everyone mesmerised.
It will also feature live music performed and created by his wife which changes from show to show, depending on how the bubbles change shape and evolve.
It is also completely improvised and not at all scripted so Louis says he never knows what might happen. What he does promise though is that it will be lots of fun.
"As you might expect it’s very playful so I get kids out of the audience to help me," he says.
"We mix the solution, add colour and do all sorts of cool things such as adding stage fog which I love because you can do some amazing tricks and effects with it.
"I also love using helium and lasers to create lots of different effects.
"Some of the bubbles have amazing colours within them, some are huge - the biggest I’ve done is about 70ft in diameter - and some you can put people or other things in.
“I do spinning bubbles, flying saucers and bubbles within bubbles, it's fantastic and fascinating – to see the look of wonder on the audiences’ faces is the best bit though.”
As well as the demonstration Louis also describes what he’s doing and how he’s creating the effects.
“It is a bit like a science lesson,” he admits. “But it’s one of the best science lessons you will ever sit through.
“I do talk a bit. Sometimes I tell the audience how I started, but mainly I let the bubbles do the talking.
“It’s more about the spectacle and creating one amazing bubble after another – it’s brilliant!”

Louis Pearl's The Amazing Bubbleman is on at the Udderbelly Festival between April 15 and 19. Visit for tickets and show times.

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