Review | Being Hueman Being is for all human audiences

Being Hueman Being | The Belgian Palace | til Feb 16th | ★ ★ ★ ★ ¼ + (a carrot)

I try not to research too much about what I’m reviewing for things like fringe – I tend to find myself easily tainted when it comes to other peoples opinions on art. In the sense that I have a tendency to want to defend that art, and its right to be; however its viewed objectively. Performance art is easily hit or miss, either because it’s content is less accessible to those not sure how to put together the layers in a piece, Or because its straight of the bat, offensive to someones sensibilities.

Luke Nowells Being Hueman Being is potentially the embodiment of hit and miss Performance art – In that it is almost purposefully both hit, and miss. He starts his show, as any one would expect, Some good old, Rap – that doesn’t end until Luke speaks, Intermittently and jarringly. His comedic timing is palpably uncomfortable to listen to between the blaring Rap, Making his voice, cutting through the track – almost like a breath of fresh air.

Luke sets the show up for success early, From an earnest moment of learning what it means to be likable and funny, to reminding us all that art – is subjective. A moment in which I couldn’t help feeling particularly attacked as I sat in my comped seat, tiny note pad in my lap – but was more intended to remind those in the audience who might not get it, That it’s art – regardless of if you get it or not.

I’m not one for audience participation, and neither (Unfortunately) was the entire front left hand side of the room, With one girl painfully exhaling “I told you not to sit in the front row” as Luke thrust her into the now, almost entirely interactive show. The more uncomfortable, bemused or inattentive you are, the more likely you are to be thrust into strange, awkward, but totally human moments. Perhaps up close and personal with a Sunflower searching for the sun, watching a bee flit by to land amongst the pollen or what it means to be, Beautiful. Even leaving this show, is an act of art. Not that anyone did, Which is kind of a shame, Because Luke makes moments of audience banter or mumbles, forcefully into his somehow, desperately confident stride – so easily that I can’t help but feel like a walk out would have only added to the visceral nature of the piece (Mhmmm, it’s art!).

Some might say that Being Hueman Being, has a lot of dead air, or jarring silences. They could say that while it delivers you moments of side splitting laughter, it brings with it contrived moments of what feel like nothing. But – so does being Human.

Luke has a tremendous hold over his physical comedy and comedic timing, especially – creating the “hover hand” of comedy. It’d be easy for someone to come away from this show thinking they’d just seen perhaps a very silly, strange clown show, something forced, but ultimately a bit of a good laugh at the expense of the artist. But the intention and creativity in this show is more than just a piece of what its like for Luke to be human, it’s a moment in time, where Luke pulls you through what it’s ultimately like for us all to be human.

It seemed those who were brought into Lukes side of the wall (Despite protest or deferral), were basically being asked to do one thing, Play. To embrace the moment that life had given you, and be present in it, and play along with the hiccups and hangups of life; To not take yourself so seriously that you forget what it’s like to enjoy the freedom of creativity and being yourself. That if you let your guard down just a little, You’ll ultimately be a part of something utterly brilliant – Human expression of self.

I could easily give this show two sets of ratings, One for those who don’t enjoy performance art, and one for those who do. But realistically, this show is for anyone who is human. If you are unsure if you’re human, It’s a good test for that too.

If you’ve ever longed for something that’s always just out of reach, only to finally get close to it – when you can no longer reach for it. If you’ve ever thought that being yourself, in all your guts and glory – is probably just a bit too much for the world to handle. If you’ve ever thought “How many small hats fit inside a normal hat?” – Luke and Being Hueman Being can find a funny bone on you to touch.

It would be unfair to give Being Hueman Being a rating of 5/5, Because being a human being certainly doesn’t garner close to that – So in the spirit of Humanity, and playfulness – I give Being Hueman Being 4.25 stars and a carrot.

Being Human Being will be at The Belgian Palace until February 16th. Tickets and more information available from

Sam El

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