And the Rest of Me Floats (Bush Theatre)

Posted: February 24, 2019 in Theatre

Devisors: Outbox Theatre      Director: Ben Buratta

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

One by one, seven people each brimming over with attitude, make their way from all corners of the theatre to a seat on the stage. They face the audience, staring with curiosity, as the audience stares back with at least equal curiosity. So begins And the Rest of Me Floats, Outbox theatre’s 75-minute revue, flamboyantly celebrating gender fluidity and everything caught up in its unstoppable whirlpool.

The production is directed by Ben Buratta, who founded Outbox Theatre in 2010 with a mission to “make queer theatre”, working with artists from the LGBTQ+ community to achieve that objective. The seven performers here represent different social groups along with diverse experiences and emotions. By the way, only non-binary pronouns are used in this review.

The red-carpeted stage suggests a cat walk and racks of clothes along both wings confirms that changes of costume will be plentiful. However, it is what goes on inside that counts a lot more here than what is worn outside, as the show sets out to challenge prejudices and preconceptions, always in non-aggressive ways. The show has a published script, which belies much of its anarchic feel and it is made up of sharp one-liners, short personal monologues and choreographed movement, interspersed with music that ranges in style from loud rock to gentle torch songs. 

When Emily Joh Miller, Josh Susan Enright and Michelle Tiwo reel off a list of countless commonly-asked questions, they are encapsulating the shortage of understanding that still exists in society and even within their own communities. When Tamir Amar Pettet learns their Bar Mitzvah prayer by repetition and then forgets it at the ceremony we see how established institutions persist in failing minorities and how minorities cannot avoid failing them. When Enright covers their manly physique in a slinky evening gown, quipping “tonight I can be Rihanna and I can be her rude boy. Both”, they could also be Freddie Mercury in the I Want to Break Free video, demonstrating that perhaps all the ideas on show are not so modern after all. 

Barry Fitzgerald, Elijah W Harris and Yasmin Zadeh make up the company of performers all of them in measures light-hearted, self-deprecating and committed. The show does not find any single stand-out moment, but, overall,  it is an invigorating piece of entertainment that promotes understanding and earns admiration.

Performance date: 22 February 2019

This review was originally written for The Reviews Hub: http://www.thereviewshub.com

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