Bruce, Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Who knew a block of yellow foam could be such fun? Bruce is the not very bright, cop-turned-novelist-turned-astronaut, stuck in a time warp, lead character of Bruce. Created and controlled by Tim Watts and Wyatt Nixon-Lloyd, Bruce is a rectangular, Sponge Bob-like head with a white pair of hands. All of the other characters are played by the same head and hands, but Watts and Nixon-Lloyd use an array of voices to effectively distinguish them from each other.

The pace is relentless, perhaps too much so at the beginning as the audience starts to work out the story. When the time travel element is introduced at the end, it is similarly a lot to process at speed. The script is wonderfully funny, with a mix of humour styles and jokes catering to a wide variety of tastes. The puppetry is well rehearsed, with the two actors working in smooth tandem without any lag between the one controlling the head and the one playing the hands.

The entire concept is simple, but well executed and without self-referential flourish. The most complex aspect is the script, which has sufficient detail to keep audience interest. Laughs were widespread and regular. There isn’t a deeper level of social comment; Bruce is silly for the sake of it. I generally prefer my comedy with a heavy dose of social commentary, but after the serious shows I’ve seen over the past few days, this is a welcome break.

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