Bush Theatre, London – until 16 March 2019
Outbox Theatre’s And The Rest of Me Floats soars in its opening and closing moments. There’s not a word spoken for the first few minutes but as the company of trans, non-binary, and queer performers take their seats one by one on the stage of the Bush Theatre – full of unflinching direct eye contact with the audience – there’s such a powerful statement of intent about their unalienable right to take over this space.
And as the show winds to its climax just over an hour later, this already most unconventional of shows opens out into something of a game of ‘Never Have I Ever’ as performers and audience members alike are encouraged to share something of themselves. It’s a beautifully intimate and inclusive act, topped off with a raucous singalong to MUNA’s anthemic ‘I Know A Place’ – how my queer little heart filled with joy.
Inbetween, the company of seven investigate “the messy business of gender” as best they know how. Deeply personal anecdotes mix with renditions of pop songs, striking movement sequences dance around spoken word interludes, as they articulate something of what it means to fuck with society’s preconceived notions about gender, in the name of expressing their true selves.
As a devised work under Ben Buratta’s direction, it is perhaps a little chaotic but the roughness around the edges feels entirely appropriate for the queer house party vibe that Rūta Irbīte’s design executes so well. And as Yasmin Zadeh shares photos from their childhood that gives the lie to the nature vs nurture debate, as Tamir Amar Pettet flings their frame frustratedly against plastic barriers, as glitter falls as easily as tears, it is impossible to resist the generosity of spirit on display here in telling these stories that so badly need to be more widely heard and understood.