Testosterone (3 stars)

This article is from 2017


Energetic but frustratingly lightweight slant on transgender experience

Shows tackling transgender issues are all over the Fringe this year, and Testosterone from London-based Rhum and Clay takes a distinctively energetic slant on the subject. This is writer and lead actor Kit Redstone's story of a pivotal moment in his own transition to become a man. We're in a sweaty male gym locker-room, all benches and floor-to-ceiling mirrors, and it's Redstone's first time there. Unsure of the social conventions, he finds himself in an excruciating situation where he may have to reveal more than he wants to about his past life.

Testosterone is a bold, breezy dissection of what makes men men, told through convincingly delivered if rather stereotyped set-pieces – a gunfight between swaggering cowboys; a powerful, preening mafia boss; even a drag disco diva – that question or confirm male attributes. But if you're looking for something that shines fresh light on transgender experience, you'd be better off looking elsewhere.

This is a slickly delivered, entertaining show that bristles with energy, but it's frustratingly lightweight too, swerving sideways into yet another pop number or dance routine as soon as difficult or personal issues are approached. It feels as though Redstone is afraid to trust his audience to be interested in more challenging material – when that's precisely what would have made the show more compelling. It's a diverting hour of theatre, to be sure, but rather a thin one too.

Pleasance Courtyard, until 27 Aug (not 14, 20), 5pm, £9–£11.50 (£8–£10.50).


  • 3 stars

Rhum and Clay Theatre Company follow up 64 Squares and Hardboiled with TESTOSTERONE, the story of transman Kit who enters a male gym changing room for the first time.