The Art of Swimming (3 stars)

Floating ideas


This article is from 2007.

This neat little combination of narrative and metanarrative from writer and performer Linda Radley is as much about the performer’s quiet obsession with her subject as it is about the forgotten celebrity Mercedes Gleitze, a woman who swam the English Channel in 1927, then followed this feat with a succession of other endurance swimming events between the world wars.

In it Radley, an engaging performer, accompanied by the accordian music of Michael John McCarthy, sweeps us into Gleitze’s early life. She takes us through England and Germany, on to Blackpool, Brighton and various other locations, detailing through sensual imagery and a handful of found items a life that fascinates her. Finally, the piece becomes as much about our capacity to invest in histories that we can identify with as it is about the lady herself. On the downside, even at an hour, the piece is a little too long, and its final purpose is unclear. For all that, there’s a certain cosiness to the piece which might well stay with you.

Traverse, 228 1404, until 12 Aug, times vary, £14 (£5–£10).

This article is from 2007.


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