Two years on from his first hormone injection, Kit looks like a man and sounds like a man. While the injections provide Kit with a male physique, they don’t help him understand what being a man actually means or what type of man Kit wants to be. Testosterone is an autobiographical tale of Kit’s transformation set around his first time entering a male gym changing-room.
Although the setting seems completely normal at first, Kit is still an outsider looking in and it soon becomes the setting for Kit’s identity crisis as he looks to other men to see what kind of man he wants to be.
Kit Redstone, who writes and performs, addresses the audience as he takes them through a journey of his transition from his very first injection. He’s thrilled that people acknowledge him as a man as he enjoys being called ‘geezer’ or ‘sir’ in a way that makes him feel welcome into the world of men. However, in the changing room he is completely exposed and is forced to address what he thinks masculinity means.
The play quite aptly opens with “I wanna be like you” from The Jungle Book, already a promising sign for the show. Perhaps it’s the honesty of this story that makes it so strong and so effective in the sense that it makes you stop and think about your own identity and how many of us take for granted the issues that are raised throughout the play.
The story often shifts to make-believe situations which help completely push boundaries as they are occasionally quite absurd (such as the chant of Kelis’ Milkshake). Kit seems to invent stories to help him deal with his insecurities and difficulty facing them.
Daniel Jacob, Julian Spooner and Matthew Wells are fantastic as the supporting cast and really highlight some extreme ideas of what masculinity is often perceived to be. Each actor plays several roles but ultimately we see Matthew Wells as the jock, Julian Spooner as the bad boy and Daniel Jacob struts around as a fabulous drag queen styled fairy god mother, in some of Kit’s more bizarre stories.
Testosterone is a really thought provoking play and ideal for a society that is fighting back against gender norms. The play shows that there is no answer to the question of what makes a man? (or any gender really). It’s funny, it’s emotional but most of all it challenges everything you think you knew about gender and transitioning and gives a really deep and personal account of things that most of us probably haven’t given a second thought.
Testosterone plays at the New Diorama Theatre until December 3.
Photo: The Other Richard