The Little Bath @ The Studio at Festival Theatre, Edinburgh
The Little Bath is a simple and sweet production, and an excellent introduction to theatre for tots
Upon entering the theatre to watch The Little Bath, the viewer is confronted by a large cage containing a sea of foamy bubbles, taller than a person and broader than a car. If this isn’t a seller, then we're not sure what is.
Surrounded by these spheres of soap is a young man. His backpack is filled with all the necessary tools to carve, fold and fluff the surrounding bubbles into whatever he pleases. A few bubbles are given life, personified as his companions. They sit on his shoulder, bringing puppetry to an entirely new level. Secrets lay beneath the surface, waiting to astound at a moment’s notice, and an extra special one is concealed right up until the climax.
Johanny Bert’s direction makes for a simple and honest production, fizzing with life. There are components of dance in this physical show; nestling himself amid the bubbles, our performer slips and slides his way across the stage, miming the action of floating and revelling in the feeling of weightlessness. He carves sculptures out of them, making huge sections that appear as dense as concrete, before puncturing the illusion.
With bubbles come the ability to highlight colour, and a canvas of translucence for lighting designer Gilles Richard. From the breaking of dawn to the setting of the sun, Richard’s makes the thirty-minute production feel like a whole day's worth of play. A grander scale is offered when pairing this lighting with effective sound design.
Once unleashed, a fascination with such a simple concept becomes enthralling. For children, it’s something they can do at home inside the bath. For accompanying adults, its a glimpse into days gone by where we would do the same; carving bubbles, mesmerised as they flutter in the air before melting into nothingness.
The Little Bath is a tremendous introduction to the theatre for the tiniest of tots. A lack of dialogue allows its simple magic to connect with anyone in the audience, regardless of language or education.