Out is already in motion when you walk in. South Asian pop’s bright notes overlap with radio static and confused Western tunes. Rachel Young and Dwayne Anthony move out of sync, joyfully and chaotically filling the stage even as the audience continues to file in.
The way that the two performers move in and out of sync is powerful: some things are experienced alone, some leaps are taken together. As the overlapping songs come to an end, they remove their shoes, and then the sheer outer layers of their costumes, starting the first song of the show in just simple black pasties, black lipstick, black briefs and stunning black stilettos.
“This song is about me”, the lyrics declare whilst the performers sensuously and slowly move across the stage. They arc into different positions, extending and retracting their arms at different speeds. The different ways that their bodies are experienced and perceived aren’t just evoked through movement, but through sound too, with the music regularly interrupted with meditations on homosexuality.
These elements grow more focused throughout the show: a preacher’s voice fills the room and Anthony and Young move towards the back of the stage until they are immersed in shadow above the neck. They shift through combatant stances and rhythmic movements in a stressful, cyclical dialogue with the soundscape. This pointed statement becomes increasingly evocative as the tension and speed ebbs and flows. If the ties to the Caribbean weren’t already clear, their next movements irrevocably connect the audience to colonial histories as the scent of oranges conquers the small space.
Their powerful conjuring of oppositional voices and memories allows them to insert their own bodies and narratives into complex historical contingencies. Poignant and unique, Young and Anthony’s dance and theatre represent vital strides in the fight against homophobia.
Words: Emily Hall
Out, Underbelly Cowgate, Aug 13, 10.40pm