Out of His Skin Zoo Southside

2Faced Dance Company started life as a youth dance company and is now a professional touring company as well as offering a community and education programme. This is a real high energy show, the six young male dancers performing in a style that they themselves describe as “urban contemporary”. This production, “Out of His Skin”, is choreographed by Tamsin Fitzgerald and is about a man trying to break free from the monotony of his life and pushing the boundaries to find excitement and fulfilment. The show starts in darkness, the stage is bare but for a tower-like construction on three levels at the side. Suddenly the pounding techno score by Anthony Murphy explodes into existence and a light illuminates a single dancer confined within one level of the tower. He writhes and twists trying to find an escape and ultimately falls from the top of the tower (thankfully onto a strategically placed mattress). The other five dancers then enter and join him on stage and they would appear to represent different facets of his character and personality. They are all dressed in dark boiler suits with shorn heads and the music is relentlessly loud and pounding which produces a bleak, dystopian effect but at the same time exuding a feeling of power and energy.

The dancing is mesmeric and breathtaking – a combination of balletic leaps and breakdance moves, the dancers using each others’ bodies as springboards and supports on which to execute their moves. The dancers go back to and from the tower throughout the piece, entwining themselves around the struts, dangling dangerously close to the edge and ultimately falling again from the top back into the maelstrom of life. The pace is so relentless that the dancers must be absolutely drained at the end, and I’m sure it was a welcome relief for them (and a boost for the ladies in the audience) that in the final scene they were able to peel off the tops of their boiler suits and cool off their finely tuned torsos.

An excellent production but I felt there was no real contrast or emotion displayed, however that was maybe the point – a full on adrenalin seeking alpha male is not going to display much of a softer side.

Irene Brownlee