Luke Nowell introduces himself as a cool guy doing a cool dance to a cool song – and from the off, we know what we're in for. This is our welcome into Nowell's abstract world of mischief and wonder. This very silly one-man interactive piece of buffoonery won't be for everyone; some of it feels a bit forced, and it does take a while to get going. But there are flashes of hilarious invention, and Nowell demonstrates a lot of potential.
The general theme is, approximately, a surreal commentary on what it is to be human and our relationship to art which makes us so. There's a recurring joke throughout that anything can be art: this works well in scene-closers and as a thread tying the whole piece together, though I'd have liked to see it played around with a bit more. We are taken on a journey through the human experience in the form of an orchestral representation of life itself, which sets the standard you really want the whole show to get to.
The best bits come from audience interactions. The immersive flower routine was by far my highlight; I just wished that we'd got there sooner, because at this point everyone was on board. Nowell actually sees more at ease cajoling one man to spank him on the bottom than he is behind the fourth wall, and he doesn't hold back in getting up close and personal with one gentleman, with whom he has a very intimate and borderline-touching moment.
The absurd nature of the show means its weirdness can go a little bit over people's heads, and I personally found it too strange and contrived to be consistently funny. A midday audience can take some warming up, as well, so Nowell maybe needs to do something to reduce the dreaded “dead air” that can creep up during transitions and costume changes.
On the other hand, parts of it are oddly mesmerising – so really it depends if you want laugh-out-loud throughout or if you're looking to enjoy some peculiar ideas. The effect reminded me a little of Noel Fielding's Luxury Comedy, especially when it comes to the shampoo-obsessed mop-headed Andy Warhol-esque character.
Being Hueman Being covers nearly every imaginable facet of the art spectrum – from contemporary, to immersive and even edible art – and while it might not be the slickest performance, it is all about embracing the ridiculousness of human creativity. And for that, you can't fault it.