Bush Theatre, London – until 16 March 2019
Guest reviewer: Amy Toledano
Outbox Theatre’s latest show is a celebration of non-binary and transgender people. It honours the blurry lines of gender and brings joy to people that endure prejudice everyday. Devised by the company, it illuminates the emotions of a community that fights to be seen, and through music, spoken word and movement, creates vignettes of moments from their lives in which they have been forced to explain themselves, their bodies and their identities.
Throughout the piece the actors shout out numbers that connect to different ages and stages of their lives and important moments that have stayed with them. This becomes an effective motif, from their first chin hairs, to their first kiss, to the passing away of loved ones. The show paints an image of the most poignant, intimate moments, using imagery that strips away niceties to create powerful portraits that illustrate the pain of living in bodies that do not feel like their own.
This show also touches on the medical and psychological aspects of their lives and their diagnoses of gender dysmorphia. The invasive nature of the tests and consultations they endure push them to their limits, and the cast throw their frustrations forward to be felt by everyone in the space.
There are a selection of musical numbers that are touching, and reflective of each character’s inner most feelings, and these raw, powerful moments are what really stand out over all. The cast are all musical, and they create magic in the face of their most tortured emotions.
It ends with the cast talking earnestly with the audience, speaking as if they have to, as if they cannot hold in what they need to say. They use jokes, confessions and absolute truth. They then invite the audience to share any coming out stories they have, and we as an audience experience a totally unique and intimate experience giving the audience a chance to be seen.
This is a production like no other out there at the moment, a celebration of what it is to be non-binary and transgender in the current social climate and the power theatre has in creating a platform for the people who need their voices heard the most.