Out review at Underbelly, Edinburgh – ‘powerfully eloquent danced dialogue’

Rachael Young and Dwayne Antony in Out. Photo: Marcus Hessenberg Rachael Young and Dwayne Antony in Out. Photo: Marcus Hessenberg
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Out is a powerfully eloquent danced dialogue about race, gender and sexuality in Caribbean culture by Rachael Young and Dwayne Antony. Movement and music manage to slip around prescriptive patriarchal imperatives and express something of the pair’s complicated status as black, gay and Jamaican. They claim and occupy the space in a liminal way, simultaneously within and without – they’re observers, inhabitants and imitators.

Bashment music blares from a speaker as the audience take their seats, while Young and Antony dance. Dressed in shorts, fishnet hosiery and red trainers with black circular stickers covering their nipples, they move tirelessly to the dancehall beats, their hips loose and low. Despite the suggestive arse-shaking slackness, there’s a detached solemnity to these dancers – they’re not competing for dancehall glory.

Wordlessly, they undress and don black high-heeled shoes. To a slinking hip-hop track, they strut and pose, evoking the catwalks and crouching duckwalks of New York voguing competitions. Again, it’s performed with both calm reserve and concentrated intensity.

Later, a pastor rants over the sound system about repentance as the duo’s arm motions turn choppy and mechanical. A scene with peeled oranges provokes sensory succour and fleshly frustration, an unresolved ending for fathomless feelings.

Intense and important dance work conveys ambiguities around queer Caribbean identity