We begin with Hutton as a ‘slobby’ figure in ice-pink bathrobe. He’s munching corn chips from a packet and swigging soft drink from a can, clearly in no hurry to get anywhere. There’s a nerdy squeal as a package arrived, bringing Hutton’s first iPhone. He unwrapped it awkwardly without setting down chips and drink. We learned that it is 2011.
Over the following 45 minutes or so, we would see the years pass as Hutton upgraded his phone. Later models would have increasingly more to say about his schedule and the state of the world. In a compulsory work-out section insisted upon by Siri, Hutton would show some innovative juggling whilst performing his exercises.
With the passing of time we would hear some updates on how computers had absorbed jobs previously done by humans. This would cause Hutton to have time on his hands. Some of his attempts to fill in time by making challenges for himself out of routine tasks were amusingly nutty.
Hutton had sections where he showed good skills and juggling innovations with bounce juggling, balls that rattled, clubs, and by balancing objects on others whilst he juggled. After the show he confided that this was the first full run through of Bit by Bit. Unfortunately, it looked that way.
Whilst Hutton has talent, far too often he dropped objects which upset the momentum of sequences. Some overlong segments made the work look somewhat underdone. The story itself has promise but is underdeveloped, and due to this, some of the juggling segments are shoe-horned into situations that aren’t very convincing.
Bit by Bit was a pleasant enough time, and something a bit different in the juggling genre. Shows later in the season should give audiences a somewhat slicker experience. I hope Hutton will have the opportunity to develop his ‘slobby’ character and find a storyline that maximises his apparent comedic potential.
Bit By Bit
Sawtooth Studio – The Melba Spiegeltent Complex, 35 Johnston Street, Collingwood
Performance: Thursday 20 September 2018 – 7:45pm
Season continues to 23 September 2018
Information and Bookings: www.melbournefringe.com.au
Image: Byron Hutton – photo by Robert Hutton
Review: Jason Whyte