"Promised Much, Delivered Only Some"
by Patrick Cunningham for remotegoat on 03/04/12

Imagine the situation. It's a rainy weekend, and you've booked a cottage in the lakes for a few days with some friends. We've all been there, and what was refreshing about 'Swim' was that it seemed very true to the exact realities of what this weekend inevitably ends up like.

The story was simple, but Stephanie Blakeborough's script leaves me in two minds. On the one hand, the characters seemed under-developed, and the story overall not quite substantial enough for there to be over an hour's worth of performance. But on the other hand, maybe this is exactly what gave the show its sense of realism. The boredom of sitting in said cottage while the rain does its bit outside, or having to go without any bars of signal for days, or bickering over which stately home you all have to trudge to next, were all explored and shown for exactly what they were. From the audience there were a few laughs in the same scenes as moments of dramatic silence, which is always a nice shift to see; and the journeys of the characters - though only set over a matter of days - were visible to all by the end. The relationships that existed before and developed during the weekend away were adequately played, and it really did seem like we as an audience were collective flies on the wall, looking in on a completely average person's holiday.

Then again, some performances were a little over-acted, and the story dragged a little from the beginning but actress Christie Peto, playing the 'ice-queen' Simone, gave a particularly solid performance, and subtly balanced the character's cold-hearted seriousness with her underlying humanity. Sharon Heywood too gave a very realistic portrayal of Carole, but I can't help but feel that there just wasn't enough actual plot there to properly showcase any of the characters.

Overall the show is worth going to see; four real, natural characters were shown, the sense of full-circle that came at the end of the story was, ultimately, quite sweet, and the realistic portrayal of so average a holiday was, at times, quite humorous.

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