Get our free email newsletter with just one click

Swim review at Pleasance Courtyard – ‘episodic and affecting’

Liz Richardson, Sam Ward and Josie Dale-Jones in Swim. Photo: Shaun Conway

Swim is a show about grief, friendship and wild swimming. It’s also about miscommunication or the inevitable barriers existing between one person’s sorrow (or life-giving passion) and the people who want to get it, but can’t.

Created and performed by Liz Richardson, Josie Dale-Jones and Sam Ward, the piece is based on Richardson’s experience of wild swimming with a friend suffering from an unspecified but terrible bereavement. It has shades of Hannah Nicklin’s work about endurance sport and loss, Equations of a Moving Body, performed at Summerhall in 2016.

Equations for a Moving Body review at Summerhall, Edinburgh – ‘engaging and intelligent’

Memory segments of Richardson’s swimming are intercut with more prosaic discussions of making the show and how, despite their best efforts, Dale-Jones and Ward never really understood the allure of submersion in a freezing lake. Throughout, Carmel Smickersgill performs a live score of splashing, rippling electronic guitar and bells.

There’s an interesting parallel between the way Richardson wants to break through to her friend, and the way the co-creators want to understand Richardson’s swimming and her agony at witnessing a friend in need. On its first outing, it doesn’t quite slot together, but it feels like somewhere, not all that deep beneath the surface, there’s a beautiful piece of theatre waiting to emerge.


We need your help…

When you subscribe to The Stage, you’re investing in our journalism. And our journalism is invested in supporting theatre and the performing arts.

The Stage is a family business, operated by the same family since we were founded in 1880. We do not receive government funding. We are not owned by a large corporation. Our editorial is not dictated by ticket sales.

We are fully independent, but this means we rely on revenue from readers to survive.

Help us continue to report on great work across the UK, champion new talent and keep up our investigative journalism that holds the powerful to account. Your subscription helps ensure our journalism can continue.

Subscribers to The Stage get 10% off The Stage Tickets’ price
Episodic multi-performer piece with an affecting ending