Bruce Fauveau: The Sword And I

Note: This review is from 2013

From Steve Bennett at the Brighton Fringe

He was trained at the celebrated Jacques Lecoq school in Paris – whose alumni also include Sacha Baron Cohen, Steven Berkoff and Phil Bergers, the man behind Edinburgh Comedy Award winner Dr Brown. So it’s no surprise that Bruce Fauveau is an expert at mime.

This, his first solo show, is anchored around a few epic scenes involving an Excalibur-style sword; though it’s essentially a one-man sketch show mixing physical and vocal comedy. For a mime, it turns out he’s very good at sound effects, especially vacuum cleaners.

He’s less adept at liaising with the audience; even in the supposedly conversational segments, he stays safely behind the fourth wall, presenting his ideas as theatrical set set pieces... save only to persuade a woman to touch his prominent Adam’s apple.

Comedically, it’s a mixed bag, more a performance showcase than a rib-shattering laugh-fest. One scene that gives the perfect example is when he draws a path around an inflatable globe, doing the stereotypical accents of the nations his finger passes through. He’s good at the various brogues, but what’s the point? His vocal talents are put to better effects when he imagines clouds around him that induce the various accents - it’s a scene that’s more odd than funny, but at least it intrigues.

Other set pieces are set to evocative soundtracks, and are certainly classily done, even if he humour is not strongly drawn out. The mimes have no strong direction... so even say, when he mimes facing the ferocity of a Canadian winter, his artistry draws a smile, but it needs a punchline. At other times, a payoff is arbitrarily injected by throwing open the mime.

Sword And I often feels as if street entertainment has come indoors – and not just because of the busking ethos of free festival shows. You can easily admire his talents, but to hold together as a show, it needs stronger scripts and more than his strange, fractured and uncompelling narrative about a sword.

Review date: 24 May 2013
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Brighton The Temple

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