If you asked a 90s kid what they envisioned the 2100s to look like then KID_X would be a close prediction. Neon, playstation one-era graphics, street dance and gymnastics combine to tell the story of a cyborg who falls in love with an internet socialite. This is cyberpunk of the social media generation, a dystopian Afro-futurist fairytale of love challenged by authority.
This is cyberpunk of the social media generation.
Dr Lazarus is the genius, trillionaire leader of Lazarus Industries, a Tony Stark turned mother and ruler who creates “KID_X” (Malick Bright) by replacing his defective heart with the Nano Heart 6000. When KID_X grows up and shows too much interest in the outside world, she warns him that, should he ever fall in love, his heart will break and his bones will crack.
The inevitable happens; KID_X sneaks a peak at the forbidden internet, and discovers Gabriella (Amanda Attwood), an Instagram celebrity daredevil famous for her gymnastic selfies on top of skyscrapers. They hit it off online and want to meet in person, but things go south when Lazarus finds out about the relationship, and tells KID_X that he can never leave the compound.
With his wonderful multicoloured dreadlocks, KID_X makes for a memorable protagonist. Bright distinguishes himself with a unique and striking crump-dancing style, which wonderfully mimics his robotic movements and the jolting spasms of his defective heartbeat. Attwood as Gabriella performs incredible feats balancing on narrow platforms with one hand and holding a selfie-stick in the other, and the two performance styles compliment each other surprisingly well with a cool synchronicity. Eva Lazarus, as our MC and antagonist, is an exceptional singer, but it’s in her rapping that she takes centre stage and shows herself to be the real head honcho of the show. It’s fantastic seeing three unique artists bringing their talents together.
As the show uses two large screens to project the cyberpunk world around them, the performers make use of it as a shadow-play screen, sometimes disappearing behind it to create certain moments. KID_X is technically a child, for example, so it’s only through shadow-play that Dr Lazarus can truly dwarf him as a mother berating her son. It makes for great visual flair, especially when the bodies and screens are intrinsically linked, like when KID_X is encased inside his own bionic heart. Cyberpunk art is incomplete without technology, so it was great seeing it used so fully here, like when Gabriella includes the audience in one big selfie. It’s great fun.
It’s a little clunky in execution sometimes, which is always a danger when relying on bluetooth, but then, this is the story of a cyborg with a defective robot heart, so it’s not like it’s inappropriate. KID_X has a youthful rebelliousness that’s been lacking this Fringe, so if you’re looking for that extra bit of sci-fi cyberpunk spirit, particularly one that you can take your kids to, then KID_X is the perfect treat.