Bruce (4 stars)

Review by Laura Money

Have you ever laughed so hard you get that feeling of when water goes up your nose? Choked back tears because you know it’s silly to cry at a cliché? No? Then you haven’t seen Bruce the hottest ticket at FRINGEWORLD 2015. Bruce himself is just a foam block with a gap for a mouth and Ping-Pong ball eyes but it is through the artistry of crack-duo Tim Watts and Wyatt Nixon-Lloyd that he truly comes alive.

Walking in to the steaming hot tent that is Teatro 1, there is music playing – “Don’t bring me down” by ELO (which has a famous misheard lyric of ‘Bruce’) and Watts and Nixon-Lloyd are standing casually in their black Lycra, singing along. The foam block that will become Bruce lies slightly unceremoniously on the floor. Nixon-Lloyd dons his white gloves and the audience simmers down. Watts picks up Bruce and they pull their face masks on – black out and the show begins.

The light focuses on Bruce himself, a floating foam block with white-gloved hands, swimming through space. It’s hard to believe that all of this is created by just a foam block, clever puppetry and great lighting. Watts performs the entire monologue as characters switch back and forth between Bruce’s lover, an old man, a Russian ex-policeman and a host of extra characters, while Nixon-Lloyd provides a flawless soundtrack of effects. The two work in perfect harmony to tell the fascinating and slightly far-fetched story of Bruce’s life.

The plot is kitsch, complex, and full of every pop-culture reference imaginable. This is where Bruce shines. It is essentially homage to the space race, action-adventure, cop film, Twilight Zone and of course every time travel tale ever told. Bruce is a live-action B-movie told with puppetry and it is exquisite. Also, the exit music – “Power of Love” by Huey Lewis and the News and being waved off by an exuberant Watts and Nixon-Lloyd is the cherry on top!

Bruce played two shows only as part of FRINGEWORLD 2015 on the 13th and 14th February.