Fringe Review: Bruce - Underbelly Cowgate ✭✭✭✭

Review by Ellen Cree

Bruce is a beautiful and cleverly done double act puppetry show performed by Tim Watts and Wyatt Nixon-Lloyd of Weeping Spoon Productions, based in Perth, Australia.

Dressed completely in black to disguise themselves with the backdrop, puppeteers Nixon-Lloyd and Watts, equipped with their sponge-like puppet, put on the slightly tragic, yet heartwarming story of Bruce, a guy who hasn't been the most fortunate in life after being brought up by just his mother, shooting his friend Joe in the eye and having his wedding proposal to Debbie rejected. Watts cleverly operates the puppet head and puts on a verity of different voices to depict the man characters while Nixon-Lloyd, with only his hands visible in white gloves acts out the characters’ gestures and movements. Developing incredible characterisation together, the duo tell the story of Bruce’s life very effectively.

For Bruce, lighting played a very important role in terms of characterisation. As one puppet is being used for all the characters, the lighting, which was also operated cleverly by the puppeteers, was changed between colours to creatively indicate which characterwas speaking. This was particularly effective during duologues.

Bruce was so simple (but effective) visually, however, at points the story got more complex and as there only being one puppet used for all the characters it became more difficult to keep track of the characters. After getting over the initial confusion of the multiple characters, I was sucked right in and especially enjoyed the time travel and flashback elements of the performance.

There is no doubt that Nixon-Lloyd and Watts are two very talented and creative men, and Bruce is a unique, one of a kind act which contains loads of laughs as well as a whole load of sympathy.

Bruce is at Underbelly Cowgate until 30th August with performances lasting an hour at 15:15