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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.

Equations for a Moving Body review at Summerhall, Edinburgh – ‘engaging and intelligent’ [1]

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.

[2]

 

Verdict
Episodic multi-performer piece with an affecting ending

Production Information

Production
Swim
Venue
Pleasance Courtyard Beside
City
Edinburgh
Starts
July 31, 2019
Ends
August 26, 2019
Authors
Liz Richardson, Josie Dale-Jones, Sam Ward
Music
Carmel Smickersgill
Director
Liz Richardson, Josie Dale-Jones, Sam Ward
Set
Abby Clark
Lighting
Lucy Adams
Video
Jim Dawson
Cast includes
Liz Richardson, Josie Dale-Jones, Sam Ward, Carmel Smickersgill
Producer
Home, Pleasance
Running time
1hr