Swim review at Pleasance Courtyard – ‘episodic and affecting’
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.
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.
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