Rhum and Clay presents: Testosterone
by Sofia Ferrara
It was a rainy night; a classic Aberdonian windy, wet evening. The show takes place in a gym, where we took a seat in one of the 18 chairs that made up the theatre stalls. In front of us, a huge mirror with four gym lockers by its sides, two on the left and two on the right. A row of benches alongside the ‘fourth wall’ closed up the space of the ‘stage’: a male changing room in the middle of a big gym. It sat there alone, out of place, as if somebody forgot it there. But as the show started, everything else around it disappeared and nothing felt more realistic and compelling.
A monologue, a musical, a pantomime, a comedy, a tragedy – it is difficult to define the show, so varied and complex in its form and yet very simple in its setting. The content, like its form, strives to escape a narrow definition. It is a show about masculinity: it critiques it and defends it, but, most importantly, it tries to free it from its toxic constraints. The multifaceted exploration of masculinity is only possible because of Kit Redstone’s unique perspective. As the protagonist and writer of the show, he is able to offer a unique window through which to see masculinity, marked by his transsexual experience. He specifies that the aim of the show is not to tell his personal story but to offer a different viewpoint than the traditional, one-sided one. At the same time, he seeks to demystify trans identity and its artistic expression. Self-irony and comedy heighten the serious and important questions that the show aims to answer. The actors had my undivided attention for the entirety of the show. I was not just drawn to the narrative, I was involved in it. Perhaps because of the intimacy of the show, due to the small audience, or the bright light that stayed on throughout the entire show, but I did not feel like a spectator looking in: I was in that locker room and I was part of the play.
The show concludes with two shirtless jocks, a drag personification of Xena the princess warrior and a fully naked man standing on stage, with their backs to the audience. Four people, four lockers and a bench, it was all they needed to create a show that captivates, invites reflection and makes you laugh – a lot.