15 November 2013
Award-winning Bubble Wrap & Boxes, by Melbourne physical theatre company Asking For Trouble, is a delightful show with the best gruesome faces I’ve ever seen.
Artfully crafted for children, the work by performers and devisors Christy Flaws and Luke O’Connor had the kids enthralled and laughing for nearly an hour. The comic timing and element of surprise was spot on in this daringly simple and powerfully evocative show.
The set is made of brown cardboard boxes, seemingly in a haphazard arrangement. A theme of reading random letters and postcards creates intersections of instant cultural travel, enhanced by suggestive musical transitions and a warm colourful lighting design.
The show is a playful flow of fooling around with a wind-up toy, a feather duster and nifty sequences of throw and catch with boxes of varying sizes. The characters perform circus-esque acrobalance, and their sweet and quirky contrasting styles grow on the audience throughout the show. Christy Flaws contorts and sculpts her deliciously gruesome monster expressions out of her otherwise very pretty face at skilful intervals, keeping the joke alive and very amusing.
“This is a funny show,” my four-year-old frequently repeated, while my two-year-old was intrigued by an Australia Post box which mysteriously descends and ascends a couple of times from the ceiling. There was a fleeting moment of “I’m scared” which evaporated with the ongoing playfulness.
Bubble Wrap & Boxes was refreshingly untechnical and didn’t try to cater for or please adult intellects. The joy for parents, grandparents and carers was to hear the laughter of so many children as the whole audience experienced beautiful and hilarious theatre. I almost forgot about the bubble wrap… but go see the show and compare the different ways it pops.