Review: Definition of Man

Nikki Muller and Jason Rosario
Greenside @ Infirmary Street – until August 25th
3 Stars (3 / 5)

With impeccable fitness, balance and control held in their bodies, it is no wonder Nikki Muller and Jason Rosario have won Best in Dance and Physical Theatre and Ripest Show at the 2017 Hollywood Fringe for their production of Definition of Man. This self-devised one-act show has multiple tense, heart-stopping moments as the actors twist, lift and manipulate each other’s physique. Drawing from Kenneth Burke‚Äôs essay of the same name, the show touches upon the human drive to communicate and the inevitable breakdown that results from the inherent incompleteness of language. It combines personal narratives, academic texts and philosophical quotes in an attempt to explore issues of identity, race and gender performance.

The verbose text is plainly delivered and completely outshone by the choreography, and can definitely afford to examine or commentate on the aforementioned issues even further. At the moment, the content is superficially addressed, as multiple topics and recollections are packed into an hour. As a result, the show feels like a cross between a physical theatre piece and a lecture, hence compromising the humanity that its creators aim to investigate, and the chemistry between the two main characters, who are meant to be in a romantic relationship. Perhaps less can be said and more can be shown in order to convey the depth of their pain and severity of being the last two humans in existence.