Edinburgh Fringe 2018
Queer Words: stand-up comedy meets dance theatre! Performed by an all-LGBTQ cast of three exceptional performers, Queer Words is a bold, provocative, and multidisciplinary performance. Combining storytelling, spoken word, dance and physical theatre, Queer Words investigates toxic ideals and the crisis of masculinity at an open mic night. Brutally honest, darkly funny and at times controversial – Autin Dance Theatre is tackling a culture of violence and insecurities with sketches about personal stories around the male perspective, feminism, gender inequalities, and homophobia. You’ll be sure to enjoy an epic, vibrant and outspoken slice of pride, hope, activism, and courage.
Three performers are positioned around the stage, surveying the incoming audience. One wears fish net tights, one is in long black high-heeled boots and the other wears a black jacket and denim. Autin Dance Theatre hails from Birmingham and is led by Creative Director, Johnny Autin, who introduced the show.
Vibrant music plays and the performers start to move fluidly. The two male and one female performer are each spoken word and movement artists.
Bethany Slinn, a poet comes forward and says “My sexuality is normal” then she starts her spoken word monologue talking about how we refer to ourselves and labels that people use, for better or worse. She goes through her ““Queer Alphabet” which is not only informative, but she elaborates on some of the words, which is interesting. She has a strong presence and develops a rapport with the audience immediately. Also, she has conviction yet is not heavy handed in her delivery.
Her linguistics mini lecture continues as she says one of her favorite letters is “d” because it stands for dyke – her physicality ripples with slight a frisson! Slinn continues and moves on to talk about pronouns, which ones to use and when, making a point – while she explains – that this is also confusing to her, and possibly others! If in doubt, the answer is to “just ask!”
Autin designed the arc of the show well and starting with Slinn’s spoken word performance is impactful.
Joshua Taft-Wild and Oliver Sale are both well trained and accomplished dancers. In this show they perform short physical scenes and interesting dance sequences with spoken words. For example, Taft-Wild performs complex choreography with dynamism and verve then speaks a short poetic heartfelt monologue, ending with “all in all I am is fabulous!” and we learn more about him through a moving monologue midway through the show. Sale performs solos and duos with beautiful lyrical then fast and outstretched movement sequences and an emotional monologue near the end.
The cast of three is compelling with integrity and a good level of performance quality – half way through there is a short fascinating survey – you have to be there for that!
Visual and spoken storytelling in this forty five minute show moves along with jazzy riffs and song, visceral dance and theatrical physical theatre. Music composed by Richard Shrewsbury ranges from pop, jazzy to pensive as the show comes full circle, and the cast explores what being queer means to each of them in their life. This is a heartfelt sincere show that is also entertaining!