Amazing Bubble Man casts watery spell across the UK
Louis Pearl talks about his career as a ‘Bubbleologist’
This article is from 2015.
As a parent, there are many memorable moments watching your children grow up – but for me, few will match standing onstage inside a giant bubble with a 2-year-old on my hip. I have Louis Pearl (aka The Amazing Bubble Man) to thank for that particular memory, and I’m not alone.
During his 35-years as a ‘bubbleologist’, Pearl has put a wide range of people inside his rainbow-coloured creations, including a bride and groom. He’s also played to a great deal of packed theatres – with more to follow on his upcoming UK tour.
After studying literature and art at university, with the hope of becoming a writer, Pearl started making toys to pay the bills. His first creation, the Bubble Trumpet, was sold on the street – involving hours of demonstrations to passers-by.
‘Pretty soon I learned some bubble tricks,’ recalls Pearl. ‘A few years later I was invited to a performing arts summer camp to teach bubbles to the kids. I met lots of musicians, actors and clowns and everyone convinced me I should do stage shows with bubbles.
‘I did my first show in 1983 and haven’t stopped since. I sold the toy company in 2002 when I had 147 products – now I don’t sell toys any more, I just play with them.’
Most of us have experienced dipping a small plastic ring into a tube of washing up liquid, then hoping for the best against the wind. But Pearl’s creations take dipping and blowing to a whole new level. Most of that comes down to hard-won skill, but what about the mixture? Like a certain soft drink, is there a secret recipe only he knows about?
‘I have always said that in the bubble business, the problem is the solution,’ says Pearl. ‘I always encourage people to make their own solutions, and there are many recipes available on the internet. A simple and easy recipe in the UK is water and original Fairy Liquid – about sixteen parts water to one part Fairy. To make the bubbles stay moist, I would add some glycerine.’
As anyone who has watched an excited toddler chase a flurry of bubbles around a room will know, making bubbles is only half the fun – catching them is even better.
‘Children love bubbles because they are magical,’ says Pearl, ‘But also because they get to destroy them – and how many things are kids allowed to destroy?’
Pearl is touring the UK with his musician wife, Jet Black Pearl, who will improvise music to perfectly fit whatever bubble shapes, sizes or situations her husband has created. And, as always, there will be lots of invitations for children to join Pearl on stage inside his giant watery masterpieces.
‘There’ll be a lot of amazing bubbles, fun, laughter, beauty and wonder,’ says Pearl. ‘I use lots of effect to create the bubbles, including lighting, lasers, helium, steam, stage fog. Plus 30 years of wrangling bubbles into every imaginable shape, from square bubbles to doughnut bubbles, people in bubbles, volcanoes, tornadoes, rocket bubbles, flying saucers, alien creatures and flying foam.’