City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Swallow, Traverse, Festival Review

By Irene Brown - Posted on 09 August 2015

Emily Wachter in Swallow
Show details
Traverse Theatre
Traverse Theatre Company
Running time: 
Stef Smith (writer) Orla O’Loughlin (director), Fred Meller (designer), Danny Krass (composer/sound deseigner), LAWholt (additional music), Philip Gladwell (lighting design), Ros Steen (voice), White & Given (choreography)
Anita Vettesse (Rebecca), Sharon Duncan Brewster (Sam), Emily Wachter (Anna)

Three women each with a set of troubles stand on a minimalist white stage. Within minutes, we are in the know about what is disturbing each of them. Rebecca (Anita Vettesse) is smarting badly after a bolt from the blue relationship break up; Sam (Sharon Duncan Brewster) is struggling with a gender crisis and Anna (Emily Wachter) has locked herself away from the world and is depriving herself of food. Though ostensibly unconnected these women’s lives start to weave together in ways that allow them to heal and find a path forward in life.

With only the use of three different kinds of seats and a revolving illuminated block that serves as a door, the women express their pain and anguish individually at first then slowly they find their lives intersecting. Rebecca and Sam meet over coffee and strike up a tentative relationship; Rebecca seeks refuge from her ex at her as yet unknown neighbour Anna’s door; Sam needs access to Rebecca’s door from Anna to pass a new phone number.

Each character is sensitively played and each actor brings their singular strength from Rebecca’s vulnerable drinking to Sam’s new found masculinity and Anna’s guilt ridden sensitivity. The reclusive Anna’s journey of wonder at tentatively rediscovering lost sensations and finding joy in the sound of a human voice stands as the finding of new ways of living for all of these women.

Stef Smith’s superb text is a mix of dialogue and stream of consciousness delivered directly to audience as these isolated individuals are given voice. In a fairly small space, the three are brilliantly directed and choreographed to perfectly apt music and truly impressive lighting and sound making this an all -round absorbing piece of theatre.

Women literally and in a wider sense take centre stage with the writer, director, designer and musician all being celebrated females. And women are at the heart and soul of this compelling play that moves from destruction to resolutions over the piece leaving a lesson on the perils of ‘dancing with the wrong people’.

9–30 August (not Mondays), Various times. Age recommend 14+