‘Bruce’ reviewed by Gordon the Optom

by November 21, 2013

‘Bruce’ is the latest wonderful ‘adult’ character developed by Weeping Spoon Productions that has combined with The Blue Room to bring you this superb show. It can be seen nightly in the Studio Theatre, The Blue Room, 53 James Street, Northbridge until Saturday the 7th December; all of the 60-minute shows begin at 8.30 pm.

Tim Watts and Wyatt Nixon-Lloyd are both well respected as stage actors, but here they show us a further example their unique and zany talent as puppeteers. Weeping Spoon have won several awards and gained acclaim at festivals and Fringes all over the world. With such a reputation the big worry is, ‘can they do their magic as well yet again?’ The simple answer is ‘YES’, possibly their best show yet.

The stage is black and the surrounds are black drapes. The two actors / puppeteers are dressed in full-body, black Lycra suits. Tim Watts hold a large yellow car sponge in his right hand and Wyatt wears a pair of white cotton gloves. The house lights dim, and as Watts’ left hand touches the remote control on his waist; three LCD lamps glow, he adjusts the brightness and colour, then with another button he starts the background music and the show starts.

We join Bruce, our hero, as he settles into his spaceship seat awaiting instructions for re-entry to the Earth’s atmosphere. After a couple of minutes of his journey, we are taken on a flashback to his hours before take-off.

For the next gripping and hilarious hour we watch this 30 cms by 18 cms foam sponge in pure rapture. Despite having only a slot for a mouth and two, half Ping-Pong ball eyes, you would swear that you could see every expression in its simple face. As Watts goes faultlessly through his 60-minute monologue, we hear a dozen very different characters with several foreign accents making appearances. Meanwhile, Nixon-Lloyd vocally creates the sound effects whilst expressing emotion, tension, power and invoking tears with his ingenious hand movements.

The two actors worked impeccably as a unified team. It was hard to believe that the audience reaction was being stimulated by a piece of yellow foam. The gasps and sighs, coupled with cries of sympathy, meant that we were all totally mesmerised by Bruce. When Cat Steven’s 1970 song ‘Father and Son’ played, the tears welled up in the audience’s eyes.

The special effects, lighting, sound, music, were all operated by the two highly talented puppeteers, thanks to the brilliant tech design by Anthony Watts.

Even though this was the show’s preview, producer Kathryn Osborne can probably sit back as, within hours, I am sure every ticket will be sold out. Another International award winning show. Pure genius, such talent in so many areas leaves one speechless.