Congratulations to Byteback Theatre for presenting a splendid physical show and going some way to alleviating my, not-uncommon, instinctive scepticism for the genre. Three Words follows the life of Larry; the quintessential ordinary man. Yet it soon becomes clear that Larry’s life is not quite everything it seems. Presented through movement and words, the show is a subtle and superb mix of the silly, the surreal and the sinister.
Initially frustrating, the mysterious opening soon drew me in as it dawned on me that this was part of the fun: trying to figure out what things meant and how things might turn out. Once that curiosity was stoked, the show became incredibly absorbing. Earlier segments tended to be greeted by laughter as the audience naively giggled at things that seemed outwardly silly and harmless, but grim realisation of the true horror behind such actions soon dawned to take their breath away.
A few faults must be noted. Projection was used to assist the story but much more often than not served as an irritating distraction from the performers. The night I saw the show, the video spilled over the projection screen and onto and over stage, and was mostly incomprehensible. Some moments of larger and more exaggerated physicality tended to be a bit much, notably at the beginning and the show’s very end. Far more effective were smaller movements and tender gestures such as the sweet and eloquent passing of a flower.
But these flaws do not detract enough to completely mar this great show. Overall, Byteback Theatre has scored a winner here with their debut Fringe performance.