Theatre Blog

Review: Swallow by Stef Smith

Written by  Thursday, 02 June 2016
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Review: Swallow by Stef Smith Johannes Hjorth

Anna (Emma Corrin) hasn't left her flat for a couple of years and her mental state is crumbling, Rebecca (Isla Cowan) has just been dumped by her husband and is struggling to deal with it, and Sam (Georgie Henley) born a woman, has realised that she’s a man. These characters lead separate lives in modern Britain, but as the play tracks along they collide and intertwine, helping each other come to terms with their illness, unhappiness and new life.

Stef Smith's uplifting play, Swallow (2015), puts a spring beneath your feet. She is a playwright of great talent, showing just what can be done in a short time period with three superbly rounded characters. The highlight of her work is overlapping dialogue, it reminded me a little of Caryl Churchill's amazing play Top Girls (1982).

Like fireworks, each one soaring higher and burning brighter than the last, the unforgettable acting achievements by Corrin, Cowan and Henley rendered us as witnesses of something truly unique. They owned their square of stage, filling it so large that the audience could only focus on one actor at a time. The trio worked faultlessly together, their dialogue zipped across each other, all as perfectly choreographed as ballet. Along with the great acting and writing the production housed many other achievements. One in particular came from the mental hospital-like set design from Jack Parham. He whitewashed all the walls, doors and sparse furniture, creating an empty canvas for the actors to reach out and grab the audience’s attention.

This powerful production ran for just over an hour and was a joy to watch from the lights going down to lights up.

Swallow played at The Corpus Playroom, Cambridge from Tuesday 3rd May to Saturday the 7th May.

Read 7707 times Last modified on Friday, 19 May 2017
Garry Pope

Garry Pope writes film reviews for Take One, an independent magazine and website. He also writes book reviews for Great Shelford Village News. He read Creative Writing at M.A. and B.A. levels at Anglia Ruskin University and Roehampton University. He has written novels, short stories, plays and film scripts: all successfully unpublishable!

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