Review from: Assembly Roxy, Edinburgh Festival Fringe; 20th August 2019
Billed as a dance and circus show, the feeling I got from watching Kid_X was more like a powerpoint presentation where someone reads out every single thing line by line from the screen. Everything is sung, then danced/acted out. Then, for good measure, there’s something on one of the screens explaining it more. In case you didn’t understand the incredibly simple plot. The promotional materials say for ages 8+, but it seems the show has been made with much younger people in mind.
I am still a novice when it comes to the styles of flexing and krumping – and completely new to the ‘flow krump’ mentioned on the programme handout – and I imagine many in the audience are expected to be equally unaware of their intricacies, however the show does nothing to encourage a passion for these type of dance. The moves always seemed small and unimpressive. One dancer trying his best.
The one live circus act within the show was a three minute hand balance act, on blocks. It was of average skill, which fit in well with the rest of the show.
The strangest thing to me was the use of two huge screens on stage, showing background cityscapes/phone screens/montages/entire backstories that could basically have been summed up in a single line… these huge screens had projections constantly, but the quality was something like an old screensaver or a PlayStation1 game. It felt like the funding had all gone onto this amazing equipment, but the result has come out looking like something from Lawnmower Man (this film is bizarre and worth a watch if only to understand my reference). The colours are garish and, when used for a ‘shadow puppet’ effect are really jarring – mostly when someone is trying to be small in the distance then takes a step to enter the front of stage and becomes a huge giant foot for a second.
There’s a strong design and musical team behind Kid_X, but my major scribbled note to self was ‘I’m super bored’, nestled amongst the descriptions of odd randomness. Trying to research a bit more about the show to work out how best to write about it, I stumbled across this music video attached to the project. For me, this tells the main plot just as clearly in only four minutes, and gives a more effective set of visuals. Once these effects can be replicated live on stage then we’re really onto something.