The title “The World’s Funniest Bubble Show” is not an exaggeration, and its creator, the Amazing Bubble Man, lives up to his name.
Also known as Louis Pearl, he is a real pro, holding a tough crowd of little ones and their parents captive with a set of tricks using just soap and water.
Skillfully adding silliness, sass and a smattering of science, he makes the show — onstage in its seventh extension at The Marsh in Berkeley — that rare animal: entertainment that is gobs of fun, and educational too.
The largely interactive performance often feels like street theater at its best. Bubble Man brilliantly engages youngsters in the audience, calling them front and center to help him blow, kiss and even wear bubbles of all sizes (and shapes too — he outrageously makes a square bubble).
After whipping up a special sweet soap, he puts two kids into a heated competition to catch its bubbles on their tongues.
Pearl, who honed his skills for years — particularly at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival — does not miss a beat. He has perfectly playful patter as he explains that bubbles simply are “anything with air or gas trapped inside,” and has quick retorts and taunts (“I love bubbles more than you do”) particularly appealing to kids.
Also, he liberally uses his impressive water pistol, shooting both children and adults, up close and across the room, raising the excitement level from amusing to riotous.
Set up with a plastic kids’ pool filled with his not-so-secret bubble recipe of liquid dish soap, distilled water and glycerine, Bubble Man dips various hoops and other implements into the solution, creating bubbles that float to the ceiling, burst in a split second or do not happen at all. Some are big enough to enclose a person.
Claiming he “will make a bubble with anything,” Pearl winds down the show by making bubbles using unlikely items offered from the audience, such as a shoe (Crocs, with their holes, are especially good), a knit hat or a glove. He ate the pretzel one person donated at Sunday’s sold-out performance.
For his last stunt, he filled a bubble with helium, asking folks in the crowd to show their pleasure when it hit the ceiling. It marked a terrific way to begin the new year, leaving the smiling audience with this thought: “When the bubble bursts as it sticks to the ceiling, everybody get super excited and happy for the rest of your life.”
Where: The Marsh, 2120 Allston Way, Berkeley
When: 11 a.m. Sundays; closes Jan. 30
Tickets: $8 to $11
Contact: (888) 838-3006, www.themarsh.org