top of page

Too Human - KXT on Broadway (NSW)

Presented by Liminal Productions. Written by Michael McStay. Directed by Sammy Jing.


Zoological puns produce belly laughs aplenty in this modern analogy with mythological performances, but is it brave enough to delve into its subtext?


Reviewed by Justin Clarke

KXT on Broadway, Ultimo

Until 20th July, 2024


The idea of growing up in a mixed-race body can be a pervasive contrast when navigating the jungle that is the high school experience. Michael McStay’s Too Human, originally staged in 2022 at NIDA, makes a return season at KXT on Broadway directed by Sammy Jing, and with it comes an onstage analogy of growing up different, as told through mythology and many, many zoological puns.


Monty (Rhiaan Marquez) is the daughter of a Minotaur (an unrecognisable Mason Phoumirath) and a Mermaid (Luisa Galloway), both already half-human hybrids of animals, as known through a variety of mythology and lore. Unfortunately for Monty, she was born with both the human halves of her parents, making her…too human for high school. 


Too Human, KXT on Broadway (2024). Images by Phil Erbacher


With her best friend Lewis, a Satyr (adorably presented by Rachel Seeto) who’s just grown into his enormous fallace, Monty navigates the awkwardness of being a mixed-race being whilst also doting after Harry the Sphinx (Lachie Pringle) the bad boy from just out of town. Elsewhere, Andy the Crocodile (outstandingly performed by Jasper Lee-Lindsay) struggles to overcome his cold-blooded nature as he tackles his growing love for Lewis, fallace and all. 


Marquez’s Monty acts as a mirror to all of us at a certain age where we just wanted a pash off our biggest crush. Her childish tantrums and inherent inability to connect to her classmates, due to her too human nature, is the throughline in which McStay’s analogy plays out. It’s not until she dons the mask of an (ironically) beautiful Ibis, that Marquez gets to fully play with the world she inhabits, if only her character’s transformation was given more weight in the script. 


At its best, the one liners and ability to play on mythological humour are gut-punching hilarious...

McStay’s text plays an odd balancing act, teetering on the precipice of greatness, though never tipping the scales fully in the show’s favour. At its best, the one liners and ability to play on mythological humour are gut-punching hilarious, whilst on the other end of the spectrum it feels afraid to fully delve into the nuances it establishes. 


The mythological characterisation of the animals is brilliantly written at times. A particular scene in the boys bathroom between Phoumirath’s “Men-o-tor” to Lee-Lindsay’s Andy is a highlight in quick-witted and sharp writing. Contrastingly, the main storyline between Monty and Lewis feels a tiresome stereotype; the reformed bad boy trope pales in comparison to the more heartfelt storyline between Andy and Lewis. 


Under Jing’s direction there is an air of contrast in the show’s performance. The high-flying melodramatic acting from half the characters contrasts with others, assisting audiences navigate where to best focus their interest. The polarised nature of the performances makes for a jarring experience at times, with the symbolism at the core of the text skimming over the top instead of giving weight to the lived experience of a mixed culture life in high school. It’s when Jing leans into the comic timing given to the best parts of McStay’s script that the production soars. 


Lee-Linday’s tortured artist, Andy the Crocodile is a highlight. From his scaly hands and braced headwear wrapped across his sharply placed teeth, down to the literal crocs he wears on his feet, his costume design is by far the most outstanding. It’s Lee-Lindsay’s subdued characterisation that contrasts against the rest of the cast that gives the most comedic weight to his dialogue, giving the warmest heart to the coldest of animals. 


Opposite to Lee-Lindsay, Seeto’s Lewis is energetic and wholesome from start to finish. Lewis’ unshakeable loyalty to his friend Monty throughout is played with honesty by Seeto, as they navigate the hilariously large fallace they don throughout the performance. 


...the script reaches the highest of highs in its puntastic and subversive languagebut has room to fully challenge and explore the depths of the analogy it puts forth.

Towards the finale of the show, we’re treated to offerings of Gabbi Bolt’s additional sound design as the romantic follies come to a climax, aiming to avoid being sued by their recognisable tunes. These were fleeting and jarringly played leaving just a teaser of what could have been standout moments.


The set design offers its own hidden treasures, from scribblings of rude animals, through to puns that make you hide a giggle at their hilarity, there’s an inherently loveable silliness imbued throughout. This extends to the characterisation of each animal on stage, from Pringle’s constant swagger and blatant airs of toxic masculinity, through to Galloway’s shuffling on and off the stage, bereft of legs as a Mermaid. 


There are scatterings of laugh out loud humour throughout this restaging of Too Human, where the script reaches the highest of highs in its puntastic and subversive language, but has room to fully challenge and explore the depths of the analogy it puts forth. Go for the mythological humour, stay for the unexpected love story between a crocodile and goat. 


 

CAST & CREATIVES


Monty/Danielle the Ibis Rhiaan Marquez

Harry the Sphinx Lachie Pringle

Lewis the Satyr Rachel Seeto

Andy the Crocodile Jasper Lee-Lindsay

Merv the Minotaur Mason Phoumirath

Beverly the Mermaid Luisa Galloway

Understudies Sophie Teo, Daniel MacKenzie


Director Sammy Jing

Playwright Michael McStay

Production Designer Hannah Tayler

Lighting Designers Emma Van Veen, Paris Bell


Sound Designer Felix Partos

Additional Recordings Gabbi Bolt

Movement Director Mym Kwa

Stage Manager Alex Liang

Intimacy Coordinator Trish Speers

Producer Aaron Cornelius



Comments


Theatre Thoughts Podcast Alternative Logo

Theatre News

Affiliate_Banners_300x250_Theatre.gif
bottom of page