Luke Rollason’s new Fringe offering, Bowerbird, is undoubtedly the older sibling of his 2019 show Infinite Content; just as silly and fun, but with a touch more polish (no matter how much chaos there is on stage, it’s clear that Rollason has put an incredible amount of work in). 

Unlike Infinite Content, which was loosely structured around technology, Bowerbird doesn’t have such a clear-cut theme – which just leaves more room for the whatever left-field gags Rollason wants to throw at us. And good Lord, there are many. Much like his previous work, there’s audience participation which ranges from the fairly tame – wiping our feets and faces on a welcome mat he’s holding in his hands – to the very involved – someone literally takes their shirt off onstage (“that’s not guaranteed”, Rollason remarks, with a hit of awe and fear in his voice). We also get our fix of unnervingly specific mime, this time involving five (six?) increasingly deranged characters all in the same scene. And his props have only gotten more ridiculous, too; clearly, Rollason sees things in a utensil drawer that us mere mortals cannot comprehend. He’s still the master of running visual gags; one particular joke involving a mirror is drawn out over the entire show and just keeps getting funnier.

Rollason does his best to mitigate the punishing layout of his venue. Hive, Edinburgh’s infamous student nightclub, was clearly not designed for anything more than partying ‘til 5am, and space in Hive 2 is extremely limited – there’s inevitably a bit of neck-craning to see some of his more floor-based antics. Given the circumstances, however, he manages admirably. It’s well worth braving the sticky floors for Bowerbird.