Swimming at the White Bear Theatre: Press night review by Stephen Vowles

A point of view well presented and then proven makes for good theatre. Alex Bowers’ play Swimming does this with pathos through lead character Dan, played by a very dynamic Andrew Hawley, who is in a relationship with Marianne, played by Harriet Green who gives a standout performance as the girlfriend who can’t understand why her love affair with Dan has fallen apart. Marianne then finds solace with Ant, played compellingly by Jack Helsby, a close friend of Dan who moves in with him. Then enter Sam, played by Patrick Cavendish, who is totally engrossing to watch as he forms a gay relationship with Dan who he meets at a swimming pool – and the play is about Dan handling that relationship. 

Bowers’ command of the spoken word is beautiful, via Rebecca Loudon’s direction, and the deliberate slow delivery of the dialogue adds a mood to the piece that makes for truly intelligent theatre. At the heart of the play Bower examines sexual tension, betrayal and that some people have something to prove to others – but perhaps more importantly to themselves. 

There is a furtive but at the same time forthright connection between the four characters and the onstage chemistry as each short sharp scene plays out is kept at full throttle. If a comparison can be made to life, it is that some people prefer the safety of the shallow end, whilst some people are more adventurous and wade out so the water comes up to their waists; some people tread water and others dive straight into the deep end regardless of the perils and risks of drowning.

This is a well constructed play offering a modern outlook on life and the trials and tribulations of living in a city performed by a cast with an air of confidence  and credibility. 

Photos by Alex Brenner


Swimming runs to Saturday 4th May at the White Bear Theatre, 138 Kennington Park Road, London SE11 4DJ. Box office: 020 7735 8664 

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