Theatre review: Daniel Bye’s ‘thoroughly likable’ Going Viral
Daniel Bye brilliantly paints a picture of a fictitious strange viral phenomenon in his performance piece Going Viral. You might think, given the name, that the show is about a buzz on the internet, which in a way it is. But in fact, the main theme of the piece is about an imaginary contagious virus that causes a person to break out weeping. The piece is a monologue, delivered by Daniel Bye throughout. His manner of speech ranges from conversational and funny engagement with the audience, through to vivid storytelling, plus times where scientific facts are explained.
His storytelling has powerful visual descriptions and keeps you hooked on the storyline throughout the piece. He takes us on a journey from Uganda to the UK, Dubai, Mumbai and back to the UK. He is expressive and moves around the room, and uses props such as liquorice allsorts, an onion and hand sanitiser. He is down to earth and likeable and you feel he has a passion to convey the theme. Or is he just passionate about telling a story?
There are hints in the story that it has resonances of malaises of our times. What is particularly interesting is that the virus causes weeping. Why weeping? Daniel explains how tears are an expression of emotion or a response to pain. But he also touches on the current difficult issues we face in the world. This makes you wonder if the weeping virus itself is an expression of grief or an emotional response to the troubles of the world. The piece is accessible, engaging and gripping, with both funny and sad moments. Thoroughly likeable.