Skin ****

Skin. Dance, Physical Theatre and Circus (hip-hop/breakin’, lgbt).

Pleasance Beyond @ Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33).

20:00.

10th-28th August (not 14th).

Skin, a hip-hop dance show charting the emotional landscape of an individual gender transition, is an interesting blend of honest and frantic, bewildering and dark. Confession: I don’t generally go to see dance shows, so I’m clueless about how Skin compares to similar. It jumped out the programme to me because of the compelling topic and the fact that this year I’m determined to boogie outside my comfort zone – isn’t this the Fringe way? Among the arresting visuals, apocalyptic soundtrack and notable inclusion of vogue-ing, I *think* I watched a tale of frictions between society and self, loved-ones and self, and self and self. Highlights include comedic tiny-child-to-macho-man copycatting, as well as a subtle interaction between the lead and the mother, where they dance almost identically, while remaining delightfully, subversively different, showing the intricacies of the ways we link our bodies to our identities. My main disappointment was when the lights went up and I noticed that one cast member would not be dancing in the production. I’d been waiting for them to wow! Another element which didn’t work for me was my inability to disentangle the narrative at times, which distracted from an otherwise impressive show.

My two friends and I shared three very different interpretations of one particular scene over introspective pints afterwards, which to me indicates a lack of clarity. For that, I’m unable to give five stars. To Skin’s credit though, one friend was crying so much by the end that her neck was dripping. Perhaps Skin is more for the dance aficionados than the total novices? A solid four stars. Five if you like wet necks

Jo Harrison