Review | Boy Name: Reconcile is emotionally sublime

Boy Name: Reconcile | Biology at Girls School | Until 25 Jan | ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ 

Lo! Fringe has arrived. And with it comes the awe, the wonder, the late nights, the hope and promise of something brilliant. Something so wonderfully queer that you sit upright, enthralled, entranced, seen. Well don’t worry, Boy Name: Reconcile has you covered. And then some.

Now… it is a known fact that if you are to step over a body on arrival, you might well be attending a funeral. But not straight away, not yet. First you must witness the emergence of performance artist Boy Name from up off the floor, garbed as an almighty, amorphous crone. They must shuck the shrouds of the afterlife so we can bear witness to their spirit.

And then, yes… then comes the disrobing, a promenade of discarded parts, a landscape of costuming cast away. The reveal? The body as wonder, angelic and androgynous. This is when the magic really begins as the artist (and the audience) find themselves working through some pretty big concepts surrounding identity, self-loathing, acceptance, objectification and grief.

Throughout, Boy Name is spectacular to behold. They hold the space with such intensity that you quickly realise that indeed, every movement is deliberate, has been choreographed with a Butoh-esque reverence. The presence of a mirror brings gaze into the space, becomes a portal through which Boy Name conjures an other. And after untucking and retucking, Boy Name marvels in the eroticism of the act, seated, each toe dancing in sequence.

The nuance of Reconcile is simply superb. There will be those who merely see the spectacle of full frontal nudity, but if you read this performance through a queer lens… and how our community has learnt to cope with grief… then what emerges is a brave, audacious work. The final sequence in particular – where the gaze is laid to rest – is incredibly touching. And yes, it did make this reviewer cry.

Uncompromising, unexpected, unusual and unique, Boy Name: Reconcile is a marvellous piece of performance art. In particular, the relevance this work has for our community in regards to issues surrounding body, identity and self-acceptance is profoundly astute. If you want to kick your Fringe off with a work that is layered and emotionally sublime, this is it. Thank you Boy Name for creating something so damn beautiful.

See Boy Name: Reconcile at Fringe World until 25th January. 

Scott-Patrick Mitchell (SPM) is a non-binary performance poet and writer with over 20 years review experience. SPM appears in Contemporary Australian Poetry, won the 2019 Wollongong Short Story Prize and has created such stage works as The 24 Hour Performance Poem.

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