In August 2014, an edited and reworked version of Swimming went to the Edinburgh Fringe. It was certainly a learning experience as the play had to be cut from around 75 minutes to less than 50 (it had to fit the Edinburgh one hour time slot) and in retrospect, we realised it couldn’t really be done. I also made the decision to lose the play’s monologues and I missed them in the storytelling.
But it was a great learning experience and we received a range of reviews – from two stars (that hurt!) to five stars, which was a bit of a rollercoaster.
In the interest of balance, I’ve included all of them below.
You can find audience feedback here.
Edinburgh Evening News – five stars
This is a neatly economical script from up and coming writer, Jane Upton.
Upton has created a delightful new play that could be a favorite for student and young adult theatre groups to produce for years to come.
To Do List.org – 4.5 stars
The writing is strong and the dialogue convincing. It’s a moving and involving piece which is well worth an hour of your time.
The Stage – 4 stars
Acclaimed playwright Jane Upton has written another nuanced drama.
The Mumble – 4 stars
[Jane Upton’s] poured the very scent of the sea into her new play, Swimming.
Tychy blogger (my personal favourite)
…yet, when it comes, the transition is spot-on. The writing and acting prove equally adept at extracting a tragedy from the comedy and turning the wine seamlessly to water.
Public Reviews – 4 stars
Swimming proves that teenagers all share the same problems even when they live in a rural community.
Theatre Guide London – 3 stars
There is a core of truth in what the play shows us that is likely to linger in your thoughts afterwards.
Scotsman – 3 stars
Jane Upton’s three-hander contains some deft observations about young people whose sense of possibilities can seem almost infinite one minute and non-existent in the next.
Broadway Baby – 3 stars
What the writing does do well is showcase each role’s many sides and allow the actors much breadth. While no cataclysmic plot-event occurs, the personal arc of each character feels fully established.
A Younger Theatre – 3 stars
A couple of moments really stand out, though: one where Jack confronts Milly with a flashlight, invading her privacy, exploiting her body-image insecurities; another, the finale, where Jack stands on the darkened beach, speaking in verse, and leaving an impression of poignant pessimism, alone and despairing.
ThreeWeeks – 2 stars
There are lots of little moments that shine in ‘Swimming’; some of the dialogue really crackles, and Jack Bence demonstrates impressive emotional range, slipping from frustration, to rage, to remorse in a fluent, organic style.