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Everything I See I Swallow review at Summerhall, Edinburgh – ‘hypnotic and exquisitely choreographed’

Tamsin Shasha and Maisy Taylor in Everything I see I Swallow at Summerhall, Edinburgh. Photo: The Other Richard Tamsin Shasha and Maisy Taylor in Everything I see I Swallow at Summerhall, Edinburgh. Photo: The Other Richard

Everything I See I Swallow features three sets of ropes. Two standard aerial cords and a hoop strung with the silk strands used for shinbari – Japanese rope bondage. Two very different traditions are represented, fitting for the tension pulled taut between the two performers.

Maisy Taylor and Tamsin Shasha play mother and daughter locked in feminist disagreement. Mother Shasha has brought her daughter Olivia (Taylor) up on all the right texts, but fears she has swallowed the propaganda of the patriarchy along with the feminism of Audre Lorde. Taylor is killing it as an Instagram fetish model, finding control of her body through tying herself up in knots. Her lifestyle embraces sex parties, nudity and polyamory. She seems happy but her mother can’t stop asking if these are really choices of her own making.

The gap in understanding between the two generations is nuanced. Olivia’s reclamation of her body and ownership of her sexuality feel liberating. It’s also understandable that her mother, who tied herself to the railings at Greenham Common, is horrified that Olivia allows herself to be strung up like meat for the male gaze.

Taylor and Shasha’s aerial work is hypnotic and exquisitely choreographed. Their ropes cross over each other showing the ties and friction between mother and daughter. They wrap the shinbari bindings lovingly around each other in complex patterns – a symbol of care that can quickly become restrictive. The red lines become unbroken umbilical cord between the two, stronger than the rift of their disagreement.

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Intergenerational feminism, sexuality and objectification presented in a spellbinding piece featuring aerial rope and Japanese rope bondage