Written by Stephanie Blakeborough
Directed by Michelle Taylor
Sunday 1st April 2012
Write Now Festival’s first offering on Sunday was Swim by Stephanie
Blakeborough who may be remembered for providing us with Mrs
Bojangles at last year’s event. Billed as a black comedy
there were certainly no offensive or painful sharp edges cutting through
the curtains. Let’s face it, four people going away for a weekend
in the country was hardly going to win any awards for original concept
but I’m delighted to report that the performance was both exciting
and a wonderful testament to observational humour. Full marks were also
obtained for using a highly original method of playing-in the scene links.
This often problematic dilemma was eliminated by an actual clarinet player
displaying musical irony that even the late Les Dawson would have been
Andrew Welsh plays nervously obsessive Alan who bounces off highly aloof
Simone (Christie Peto) while thirty something couple Carole (Sharon Heywood)
and Dave (Mike Sanders) quickly add to the group tension and dynamic.
Heywood as Carole portrays an extremely convincing drunk as the alcohol
fuelled antics of Saturday night unfold and the surprises begin. There
is theft where nothing actually gets stolen and full sexual portrayal
utilizing only minimal discrete sexual content in a very cleverly designed
and easily accessible plot. Ultimately Simone turns out to be not exactly
what is written on her lid.
Swim gives an instant acquaintance with actors that will leave you reliving
the highlights for some time to come. The direction and use of performance
area are excellent and as well as having an inspiring cast Stephanie Blakeborough
has crafted a truly memorable piece. I make no apology for coining the
clichés “new writing at its best”, “genuinely
funny” and “catch it while you can”. In my book it is
a deserving potential contender for play of the festival.