Adelaide Fringe review 2018: Bubble Show for Adults Only

Bubble Show for Adults Only
Gluttony — Parasol Lounge

THE “For Adults Only” in the title sells this delightful show to a prurient public, whilst entertaining with visual humour, artistic skill, cheeky theatricality and bubbles.
Surfactants never worked so hard.
Kurt Murray and Iulia Benze, children’s entertainers, have ventured successfully into the world of AO.
At the 11:10pm slot, all sorts of audience members turn up; the house is full and raucous.
Both performers display great discipline in physical theatre and clown work. Their clown personas are strong and visually satisfying; clown forms the foundation of their excellent work.
They tell stories with minimal words, mime, slapstick and bubbles. Tiny bubbles, huge bubbles, clear bubbles, opaque bubbles, flammable bubbles. Murray and Benze share with us a childlike glee in bubbles and fun.

Bubble Show For Adults Only

Almost everyone has a nostalgic love for bubbles, remembering back to when you were a kid and you could spend hours playing with them and trying to craft the perfect bubble.

You probably never imagined that bubbles could be used to explore sexual desires and frustrations or take you on a journey through the life and death of a relationship.

That is exactly what Bubble Show For Adults Only, at Black Flamingo in The Pleasure Garden, achieves in an hour of cabaret-style physical performance.

Using relatively simple staging and elaborate costumes – or sometimes the lack of costumes – Kurt and Iulia take the audience to unexpected places using bubbles as both props and showpieces.

Some of the bubbles are outrageously large, and some are so small and intricate it seems impossible they would hold together under stage lights. But they do – Kurt and Iulia are pros, so much so that some of the things they attempt should not be tried at home.

If this is starting to sound like it’s not the bubble show you expected, you are spot on. Bubble Show For Adults Only from Bubble Laboratory goes places you thought bubbles couldn’t (or maybe shouldn’t) go.

In true burlesque fashion the show takes a turn for the macabre at some points, balancing nicely with light-hearted sexual innuendo and a touch of tasteful sleaze.

The show is also made accessible for the hearing impaired which is a testament to the talent of director/performer Kurt Murray.

Kurt and Iulia manipulate bubbles in mesmerising and playful ways, working with scale and physicality to craft an entertaining story around their skills with the soapy solution.

Without words, Bubble Laboratory transform soap and water into a sexy storyline with all the ups and downs of your favourite soap opera.

You may never look at bubbles the same way again – but you’re an adult now, and it’s time you started acting like one. So if you can still find tickets to the almost sold-out run at FRINGE WORLD Festival 2018, get out of your bubble and into theirs.


Fun, filthy and frothing at the bit – The Bubble Show for Adults is kinky cabaret at it’s finest! – taking a hilarious look at sex and relationships through the medium of bubbles and burlesque.

Iulia Benze and Kurt Murray are extremely high energy and engaging performers, their facial expressions and honed physical work get the audience on board from the start. The bubble tricks are stunning, imaginative and well thought out to be laugh-out-loud filthy and clever.

Those in the front row will get wet (possibly in more ways than one) and audience participation has hilarious consequences. The dancing, burlesque and wacky moves flow to some great music and Benze has a gift for getting a crowd going.

If there hasn’t been enough fun in your fringe yet, go and check out this show tonight!

I wasn’t really in the mood for this show. There was the pressing concern that a bubble show aimed at an adult audience was going to be an hour of dick jokes tagged on to what could just have been a family show. How wrong I was.

You’ll never look at a bubble performer the same way again.

Bubble Show For Adults Only is a postmodern performance art piece on relationships and sex told through the mediums of slapstick comedy, burlesque and bubbles. It’s also very, very funny. Kurt Murray and Iulia Benze have taken all the tricks you’d expect to see in a family-friendly bubble show; smoke-filled squares bubbles, spinning bubbles, giant bubbles, and woven them into a bizarre narrative in which we see a relationship develop and then become monotonous before collapsing. There’s also asides dealing with sex, jealousy and a little touch of BDSM fetish. However, this isn’t an explicit or overly sexual show; the adult elements are played as bawdy fun and could almost be a childlike view of adult relationships. The first date sequence is silly and sees them quaffing bubble cocktails and eating bubble meals before a frantic and funny sex scene which is essentially a long, somewhat chaste, kiss as they writhe and contort around the room.

Later in the show there’s some genuine symbolism and it’s clear that Benze has a background in performance art as she takes to the stage in a death mask, clutching a tiny infant before producing a spectacular spinning dervish of bubbles. Both of the cast also have a flair for clowning and give great facial expressions and mug appropriately throughout.

However, the real joy of this show is the delight of seeing the soapy suds being used to create amazing shapes and we get it in spades. Used throughout the show, the bubbles represent breasts, bums and even more private parts and are jiggled and popped in some ridiculously elaborate ways. You’ll never look at a bubble performer the same way again.

A somewhat mind-boggling mixture of genres, this is a show best described as mime and burlesque with added bubbles. There’s twerking, stilettos and a woman dressed up like a sexy Harry Potter – all of which makes for a show that’s not for the faint-hearted. Even so, this was a thoroughly enjoyable hour that could only happen at the Edinburgh Fringe. Happily (or unhappily) there’s even some audience participation.

Starting as mime with some fun bubble-based tricks, the performance opens with a charming courtship routine: two people sip soap-sud based cocktails, with lively 1920s music playing in the background. At this point I thought I might be in for a slightly tame affair. Not so. In no time the lady is wearing little more than bubbles, which are being flicked off her chest by her colleague, now seemingly dressed as an Axl Rose impersonator. Knickers and sanitary products soon fly through the air as bubbles are blown down the woman’s quivering thighs.

All of which creates a wonderfully bizarre show. Behind the light-hearted raciness, the bubble tricks are surprisingly impressive, with lighting used to create some genuinely beautiful sights. Much of the show is baffling yet really funny, such as the competition to see who can make the biggest cascade of bubbles to dangle between their crotch. The two actors, Kurt Murray and Iulia Benze, give an energetic and unapologetically silly performance.

Some moments verge on being a little too surreal – we move very quickly from the man miming being in the womb, to the lady appearing on stage looking like the love child of Mother Theresa and Death having a bad hair-day. There is a section involving making bubbles out of a doll spit in half, which also turned a little too eccentric for me. But overall the loose plot and inexplicable happenings add to the fun.

Bubble Show For Adults Only really does mean what it says in the title, but beneath all of light-hearted smut I found it strangely charming. If you can’t handle a woman wearing a horse’s head sexy dancing, then this is not for you… but if you enjoy your fellow audience members not knowing whether to laugh or leave the room sharply, it could be just what you’re looking for. Dutch courage comes recommended.

This review of a show at the Edinburgh Fringe 2017
was published on Sunday 20 August.

by Jane Bristow

What audiences are saying:

What a brilliantly conceived show. Bubbles with a storyline. Pure professionals. Looking forward to next years performance at Edinburgh Fringe 2018!

David Norrish

Lol, with that many pairs of undies on you could do an hour long strip-tease! This idea is quality, really!!

Tom Scally

Was a great show enjoyed the sparkle of the bubbles

Absolutely terrific show by the two of you. Loved it! Can’t wait to see you two again. Brilliant.


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