In the Surface of a Bubble is an intriguing new piece of devised story-telling performed by the sparky ensemble of four, Amelie Leroy, Line Moller-Christensen, Adam Cridland and Edward Day. Day is also the writer and director of the piece, which he adapted for the stage from its original novel form. Day’s language is a flower-bomb of rich, thought-provoking imagery, it is kaleidoscopic and constantly evolving, and it truly pushes the boundaries of the imagination. These four performers are undeniably an energetic ensemble of incredibly skilled performers, with a thorough grounding in various art forms between them, some of which include training in professional clowning and the world-famous technique of the theatre practitioner Jacques Lecoq. The performance is altogether spell-binding, but suffers from one fatal flaw; it has been pitched at an audience demographic which is entirely unsuited to the nature of the performance, and thus its audience members fail to fully engage with the beautifully bonkers world created on stage.
The performance travels full-circle and returns to its captivating pre-state at the end of the show, which involves the four bug-eyed performers glued together in a bundle dazing deep into the audience, blinking like rabbits caught in headlights and breaking together as if they are one living organism. This is how the group dynamic is to remain for the entirety of the piece; each performer bouncing off the other and gelling seamlessly together as one.
The piece is performed to an audience made up entirely of fidgety, restless adults, who clearly appreciated the depth of the story-telling and the pure talent on stage, but could not themselves be fully immersed in the wonderland of talking animals and imaginary concepts. The premise of In the Surface of a Bubble is essentially that anything you imagine is real – and that dreams are weaved by an old rat lady who sits at a spinning wheel.
From the outset this tale seems two-dimensional and the premise is in danger of being too simplistic and overdone, but these assumptions soon vanish as the story unfolds to reveal underlying heart-felt moments and proves itself to be far more profound and poignant than we first anticipate. In the Surface of a Bubble should however seek a younger audience who are easier to carry along the imaginary roller-coaster and fully engage with the wonderful, wacky and down-right weird world of the piece, rather than struggling to heave the burden of weary adults along who will never be able to fully invest in a nonsense universe and let go of their inhibitions.
Featuring puppetry, physical theatre, live music, body percussion, singing, capoeira and kung-fu, there is no doubting the innovative use of theatrical techniques and pure genius behind this performance. It is a kind of organic theatre which, aside from its trusty toolkit of enthusiastic performers, really doesn’t rely on much more to tell the story.
In the Surface of a Bubble played at ZOO as part of the Edinburgh Fringe. For more information see the Edinburgh Fringe website.