Spit it Out

Alice K Stephens
Pantano & Co
Rotunda Theatre: Squeak

Spit It Out

In Spit It Out, young gay man Adam makes the decision that presenting with a look he names ‘Nicola from HR’ is something he wants to do all the time, not just for Pride events.

The following 50 or so minutes hurtle through various aspects of Adam’s life as he works to come out as trans woman, Emily. There’s the reliance on emotionless sexual experiences, the casual transphobia of his ignorant boss, the devoted loyalty of best friend Sarah and Emily’s fondness for an elderly aunt.

The issue is not the range or subject of the scenes but that they all lie at an extremity—the hook-up apps are populated by fetishists, the boss thinks ugly dykes should be shot and trans women aren’t worth raping, Sarah sacrifices her own needs at cost to be there for Emily, whose dependence on her is inordinately demanding, whilst the aunt rejects Emily entirely.

An ensemble of three play all the supporting roles and are kept busy with twaddle from being a baby crawling amongst the audience to dancing with stools, imprisoned by an artistic decision to have them on stage throughout.

Under the direction of Noah Alfred Pantano, trans actress Willow MacDonald gets few opportunities to play Emily with any nuance, but to be fair to both MacDonald and Pantano, there’s not much of it to be found in the text by Alice K Stephens, whose MA in creative writing dissertation this is.

There are one or two moments that are breath-catchingly sad, but Spit It Out still feels so much like a work in progress. It beats with the heart of an autobiographical or partially autobiographical piece, but is less than a whole because its parts come across as a jumble of milestones where the guide has failed to provide the connecting journeys or reveal the final destination.

Reviewer: Sandra Giorgetti

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