Swimming with my Mother Review

Rating (out of 5)
Show info
Cois Céim Dance Theatre
David Bolger (concept and choreographer), Eamon Fox (lighting design), Ivan Birthistle & Vincent Doherty (sound design), Jym Daly (Video )
Madge Bolger, David Bolger
Running time

This beautifully pitched show about the real life swimming and dancing experiences of the two dancers, mother and son, Madge and David Bolger, has already been a double first Fringe winner and it’s no wonder.

Using only the props of a bench and a red towel, the dancers tell a life story going through the phases of childhood, marriage, child rearing, romance and growing old, all through the medium of dance and through the language of swimming. The magic is already there with the gorgeously atmospheric filmic gulls that swoop across the screen as a slow moon rises before suspending itself above the proceedings throughout the performance.

Hand in hand, Mother and Son appear, the boy playing, leaping and twisting; his Mum quiet and still as she watches out for him. The narrative is in the recorded voice of dancers, mainly of Madge the Mother, and the performers synchronise their mime perfectly to the words. With gentleness, they dance in unison, showing mutual support as the time arises for either to need it – a quality needed in dance as well as in life.  This metaphor is made crystal clear in this extraordinarily ordinary story of life affirming oneness told through links with swimming baths and sea alike, shown to wondrous effect with amazing screen splashes you almost felt you had to duck from .

There is something especially moving about a child dancing with a parent (think of the lovely Luther Vandross song, Dance with my Father) and Madge and David’s lovely foxtrot to Paper Moon was heavenly and the final scene as Mother and Son sit together with their feet being lapped at the shore had much of the audience reaching for their hankies.

It would be difficult not to mention that Madge Bolger, a teacher of synchronised swimming and qualified lifeguard, is 77 years old. She moves on the stage with grace and gentle movements in joyous synchronisation with her son, David, a versatile and accomplished dancer himself who, as well as the duet, does a delightful solo barefoot tap during the show.

This already highly successful and award winning show is, as the Nat King Cole song in the show says, Unforgettable.

Show times

13 August 13.00
14 August 14.00
17 August 16.00
18 August 17.00
19 August 18.00
20 August 19.00
21 August 12.00

Ticket price: £7