REVIEW: Dumb Kids
Presented by Legit Theatre Co. and KXT
Reviewed by Eugene Kwag
Legit Theatre Co.’s Dumb Kids splashed into KXT on Broadway, with their final preview show wrapping on the 27th of June 2023. Legit Theatre Co. aims to create exciting and witty theatre based on intricately crafted performances. Dumb Kids by Sophia Bryant, Tom Hanaee, Annie Stafford, and Mathew Lee exceeds these expectations. This ten person show deeply dives into the movement of the actors and their snappy commentary, and culminates with an element of musical repertoire.
The overall message of this piece of theatre is discovering what it means to be the most authentic version of yourself and growing up against the struggles of a ‘perfect’ world where everyone appears to be content with their lives.
The show follows the journey of ten Year 11s navigating their sexual identity and ambitions that are harboured by their looming prom night. Each of these characters undergoes an individual conflict, as they discover hidden inhibitions within themselves, growing up within a society that represses their innermost ambitions and desires.
Everyone wants to find some sort of love, but no one knows if they’ll ever achieve it.
The whole body of actors’ performances within the piece was commendable. Standouts included Fraser Crane’s embodiment of Gabriel and Rachel Seeto’s Maria. Both played a pivotal part in augmenting the message of the play, Gabriel playing the mischief-maker and Maria, the consolidator.
The actors, director (Sophia Bryant), movement director (Emma Van Veen) and producers (Thomas Hanaee, Mathew Lee and Annie Stafford) all worked extremely well together, allowing the audience to see an intimate group of talent bonded together and applying themselves to the full depth of the space.
The set and costume design (by Benedict Janeczko-Taylor) was the gem of the show. A simple playground with nostalgic childhood objects (monkey bars, balance beam, seesaw, and parts of a playground slide) allowed the actors to move freely within the space, while constantly reapplying themselves towards these abstract pieces. When combined with the magic of Thomas Doyle’s lighting design, the world of Dumb Kids came alive through a kaleidoscope of colour palettes. The luminant yellow and orange splashes fleshed the characters forward, often as they gave speeches and critical contributions towards the overall message of the story. This was unearthed with the mysterious purple and blue glows that flickered for the characters, during times of confusion and unavoidable conflict.
I would like to compliment Sophia Bryant’s direction again and her ability to successfully join the witty dialogue that reverberated between characters with the application of the physical space they were presented in. The split room allowed the audience to immerse themselves in the various struggles of the teenagers, a revolving door of insecurities, joy, and heartbreak illuminating the spontaneity of high school life.
This issue of individuals acknowledging their sexuality and accepting who they are was successfully portrayed. Although there was an aching pain that was left towards some of the characters’ unresolved conflicts that would hopefully be addressed in the future.
Having the opportunity to listen to the creatives of the show allowed me to appreciate the development period and the rehearsal time they were confronted with. It was evident that the cast had an enthusiastic spirit and were dedicated to apply themselves fully towards the task.
Dumb Kids is a refreshing approach on the theatrical realm that offered up irresistible spices within a contemporary world. I would highly recommend Dumb Kids to all age groups, as evident in the wide array of audience members on their final Preview Night.
Dumb Kids is playing at KXT on Broadway until 8 July 2023.
Images by Bryan Ruiz and Phil Erbacher