Bubbles and Martini

Aug 25 2017 | By More

★★★☆☆  Frothy

theSpace@Surgeons Hall (Venue 53): Mon 21– Sat 26 Aug 2017
Review by Hugh Simpson

Bubbles and Martini is packing in the crowds at Surgeons’ Hall, and it is not difficult to see why. It may not be the most demanding show on the Fringe, but it fills a need and certainly brings joy to its audience.

Artanis Productions’ musical show was devised by Jamie Walker. It pairs Steve Ponton as Dean Martin, the King of Cool, with Walker himself as Michael Buble – who is either the new King of Swing or the Prince of Cheese depending on your opinion. It is a pairing that is unlikely on chronological grounds at least.

Bubbles, Martini and a Selfie

If this is more of a tribute act or supper-club entertainment than a true piece of musical theatre, it is at least genuine, and is performed with musicality and elan.

Walker has the more difficult job as Buble, who is not exactly renowned for his larger-than-life personality or showbiz excesses. The portrayal here is, however, tuneful and charming, and gives the Canadian a cheeky likeability.

Martin, whether through chance or design, acquired a much more cartoonish image as the lovable, womanising drunk, something that largely masked his dedication to his craft. Ponton makes great use of that exaggerated public persona, adopting a relaxed and friendly air, as well as doing a great job evoking Martin’s laid-back style of crooning.

Both performers work the crowd with skill, and the atmosphere is carried over into the interaction between the duo. Much of the patter between the songs is based on the differences between the two, and on the conceit of Dino ending up in 2017.

lack of cynicism

While the jokes about Trump and selfies are a shade predictable, it is all done with such a lack of cynicism that it is impossible not to warm to it. What is most impressive is the way that the script is performed with an unforced air that makes much of it sound improvised.

That script is just about extensive enough to forgive this sneaking into the Theatre section of the Fringe programme. It is the music that has drawn the crowds, however. Some of the numbers – That’s Amore, Sway, Buble’s Home – are the expected inclusions, but there is at least one song you probably won’t be expecting.

The recent passing of Martin’s comedy partner Jerry Lewis has severed another link with the era evoked here – an era which, to be fair, Buble spends much of his time recreating.

There are clearly plenty of people who want to revel in that period, as testified by the singalong sell-out crowds this warm and heartfelt tribute is attracting.

Running time 50 minutes (no interval)
theSpace@Surgeons Hall, Nicolson Street, EH8 9DW (Venue 53)
Monday 21 – Saturday 26 August 2017
Daily at 7.05 pm
Book tickets on the Fringe website: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/bubbles-and-martini
Company website: https://www.bubblesandmartini.com
Facebook: @bubblesandmartini


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