Bill Bruce: Political Hot Potato

Note: This review is from 2005

Review by Steve Bennett

Bill Bruce's performance transcends efficient professionalism and soars into areas only dreamt of by most jobbing stand-ups.

At the most basic level, Bruce was able to smoothly incorporate the latest information on the London bombings and that very morning's unexpected headline news that cleric Omar Bakri Mohammed had fled the country. His ability to incorporate totally fresh material was impressive. But his ability to work a potentially very difficult audience was awe-inspiring.

With an apparent effortless ease, he was able to diverge completely from his prepared set into areas dictated by his audience and speak with knowledge and humour about current events, sailing into improvised yet totally smooth and well-shaped routines, then returning even more smoothly to his prepared set. To make this seem effortless and easy is the highest possible professional compliment.

One particularly difficult punter did not heckle but amiably interrupted Bruce's act repeatedly and dangerously. Rather than put him down, Bruce used interruptions by the punter - a postman by trade - as a diving board into unswum new waters.

When the punter got up, went to the toilet and returned to find the venue entrance accidentally shut, he banged twice on the door a couple of times. "So you see," Bruce said without pause, "It's true. The postman always
knocks twice"

Towards the end, asked for a wild animal story by a punter, he spun into a tale about lions, spastic children and Loch Lomond with which he climaxed a show superbly delivered, superbly crafted, superbly shaped but largely improvised.

Massively talented. Breathtakingly good.

Reviewed by: John Fleming

Review date: 1 Jan 2005
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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