If you go down to the Fringe this year, you’re sure of a big surprise. Inside a cosy tent, Bubba-Licious adventurers follow Kat Grey through forest and sea in a medley of nursery rhyme favourites.
Lights are dimmed, and the babies are babbling. Grey stands at the front, her multicoloured pigtails framing a giant smile that instantly makes everyone feel welcome. She waves at the babies, and moves around to give personalised greetings to her little audience members. From the start, she assures anxious parents that this show is for babies. Cooing, crying and exploring is expected, and the parent room is just nearby if needed. This is a show she made for her toddler, a Fringe experience tailored especially for little bubbas.
The show begins with an Indigenous number, translated by Kat who incorporates Auslan signing into her actions. We then play a little peek-a-boo as Kat goes from caterpillar to butterfly, showcasing glowing wings with a friendly caterpillar friend in tow. The butterfly calls her friends and they fly overhead. It’s a mesmerising view looking up from the floor cushions.
There’s twinkling of fingers and more than a few little teapots around. Then, a change of scene as the teepee lights up. Shadowed shapes tell the story of Incy Wincy and the audience joins in the galumph when frogs appear. By this point, our seven month old is clapping her hands, gaze transfixed on the glowing props and floating fabrics.
Take a dive. The bubbles arrive and Grey carefully swings her ropes to make some larger suds. A few curious fingers burst the floating spectacles with giggles. A shark swims overhead and we all run away. Teddy bear cuddles are always welcome, and who would say no to a flurry of take-home balloons?
Bubba-Licious is an imaginative adventure for families to explore together. Grey’s relaxed, yet engaging approach to storytelling transforms the tent into a dreamlike environment. Not too long, and not too short, this thirty minute set of sensory delights is just right for little bubbas.
Reviewed performance: Sunday 16 February 2020