Isn’t it about time someone poked some well-deserved fun at broadcasting schedules, at just how manicured and pathetically committee-crafted some of the shows on the box are these days? This seems, in part, to be the aim of the semi-meta show It Takes Three to Tango, written and performed by Will Owen, Lottie Elton, and Amaya Holman.
A fairly shoestring narrative finds the trio, playing what is perhaps best described as loosely fictionalized versions of themselves, unexpectedly thrown back together for an audition/pitch meeting at a major television network. There’s some residual beef still unresolved from the group’s time at university but it’s perhaps best you don’t dwell too much on this aspect as it’s not something that finds a completely straightforward answer.
“A definite labour of love”
The show finds its voice when it’s parodying the sort of stuff you might see on TV these days as our three characters attempt to brainstorm ideas for new shows for their prospective TV bosses. This includes some neat lampooning of existing game show formats but also veers off into the territory of total absurdity, resulting in a weird bit of audience interaction over a Christmas-gift themed show the trio are pitching.
If it’s not already obvious, the show is completely scattershot in everything from its performance style (musical numbers one minute, Fleabag-inflected monologues the next) to its story (even now I’m struggling to remember to the specifics of it). Broadly though, the show is a container for sketches, and in this regard, it succeeds. Its three performers have an absolute surplus of talent and their chemistry and natural ease on stage carries the show even when the writing veers off into something perhaps a bit more inconsistent. There’s a huge amount to enjoy here and even if you initially have to tolerate a few slightly well-trodden jokes about millennial life in London (‘Why are flat whites so expensive? Why is my Uber driver always late?’ etc. etc.) the show manages to find it’s voice and keep its audience entertained.
Even if It Takes Three to Tango never manages to parody the issue of TV formatting quite as subversively as it sets out to, it still succeeds in finding its own style of comedy that’s refreshingly free of cliché and contains just the right amount of meta. Directing duo Will Bicknell-Found and Mariam Abdel-Razek execute the multiple transitions and bizarre format shifts within the piece with accomplished technical know-how and it’s something that, if nothing else, is a definite labour of love for all involved.
It Takes Three to Tango ran at Underbelly, Bristo Square – Fresian until 25th August.