Bubblewrap and Boxes
Asking For Trouble @ Bosco Theater
11:00am, Sun 7 Mar 2010
I don’t just pick kids’ shows to pad out The List, you know; I genuinely want to see everything I go to. Take Bubblewrap and Boxes, for example: the Guide explains that it’s “about how to live bravely in a big world – told using acrobatics, clowning and a whole lot of cardboard boxes.” Who wouldn’t want to see something like that?
Unfortunately, when I left home that Sunday morning to wander into town, there was a persistent drizzle; despite the fact that I’d probably appreciate the show all the more without company, I was hoping that I wasn’t the only one willing to brave the rain for this 11am performance. Luckily, the skies cleared en route, and the queue was ginormous. As is my usual deal with family shows, I let everyone else go in first, then found a comfy seat by my lonesome down the back.
Asking For Trouble are a male / female duo; He is capped and geeky, a collection of surprised squeals and shrieks and exaggerated movements. She is a blonde pixie, wide-eyed and expressive, with a deliciously greedy grin. He seeks order in the boxes on the stage; she wants to play, causing chaos and mischief – but showing remorse when She upsets Him.
The titular bubblewrap doesn’t make an appearance until the very end of the show, and the boxes are little more than window-dressing (and for the backdrop of the set, allowing for a few peek-a-boo moments and some clever disembodied limb gags). But the vast majority of the enjoyment in Bubblewrap and Boxes is found in the pantomimic acting and chasing of the pair, as well as a bit of carefully deliberate gymnastic balance work thrown in.
This was, I have to say, some quality clowning. Whilst very much a family show geared towards younger children, this bigger kid really enjoyed himself. And, without a word of a lie, it was also responsible for one of my favourite moments of this Fringe: He was tiptoeing apprehensively around a small box in the middle of the stage. Great worry filled His face every time he approached it; He’d reach out to touch it, emit a little shriek in fear, then scuttle away. Funny and tension-building. But it all got a bit too much for one youngster in the audience; “it’s just a BOX!” came the exasperated cry, scaring the other kids and causing the adults to crack up. He was unshaken, however, and turned to look at the child responsible, now being softly admonished by his mother; His look was priceless, the solemn and grave shake of his head carrying weight beyond the child’s comprehension.
And the box turned out to be a Jack-in-the-box. Fantastic!