Pep Bou, Ambrossia

Review in Issue 11-1 | Spring 1999

Ambrossia is the second work by Catalan artist Pep Bou to be presented at the Mime Festival, following Bufaplanetes, his sell out success in 1998. This piece is a collection of scenes and episodes performed by a clowning Luis Bevia as well as Pep Bou himself, which enable the performers to do a lot of tricks with big soap bubbles. Initially the fragility and the sheer beauty of the bubbles is enchanting and Bou, who also directed and designed the production, does devise some wonderful ways of presenting his ephemeral artform. However, after an hour or so, the novelty definitely wears off, and the pieces begin to feel rather like a clever piece of visual trickery that has been stretched beyond its limit. Similarly, the clowning characters begin to grate, as it becomes increasingly evident that whatever they do is simply a means to the end – the end being more tricks with more big bubbles, or, rather, more burst bubbles as there seems to be a technical problem (our cold northern climes, or the less than ideal air conditioning of the Purcell Room?) on the night I saw the show – resulting in more bubbles failing to fulfil their soapy potential than not.

A programme note for the production indicates that the piece is inspired by ‘the lyrical poetry of Catalan writer Joan Brossa’. However, there seems to me to be little evidence of anything particularly lyrical or poetic in this production, and one has to presume that the piece is much more rewarding if one already knows the poet’s work. As it is, this piece fails as theatre, and would be better presented as a short cabaret turn, or as a showcase of the technical trickery that is ultimately all it is.

Presenting Artists
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. Jan 1999

This article in the magazine

Issue 11-1
p. 23