Airswimming

Airswimming tells the tragic story of two women, Dora and Persephone, who have been incarcerated and forgotten in an asylum for the criminally insane in the 1920s. While this premise is admittedly daunting at first glance, the story is lifted far from the dark, disturbing terrain it could have wallowed in with dashes of heartfelt humour and occasional, blissful scenes where the women retreat into their own fantasy worlds. Studded with both comical and moving renditions of Doris Day songs that serve to comment on the mood of the scene and mind-set of the characters, it is a unique and clever piece of theatre. Alison Nicol’s performance of Day’s Secret Love was particularly touching.

The play is an excellent vehicle to showcase the talents of Tanya Chainey and Alison Nicol, whose performances are captivating, comical, inspiring and affecting.

With Persephone idolising and impersonating Doris Day, regularly getting swept up in her imagination of a world filled with glamour and adoration, and Dora fantasising about the army and a triumphant life as some of history’s greatest women, the pair are well equipped to become a memorable double act from the onset. The play is an excellent vehicle to showcase the talents of Tanya Chainey and Alison Nicol, whose performances are captivating, comical, inspiring and affecting.

The story spans several decades, ending in the 1970s when the pair are finally released from the asylum. The fragmented narrative hops freely between decades and becomes more difficult to grasp as the story develops. Although it does feel tangled and ultimately confusing, it accurately reinforces the fact that inside the asylum, time has entirely lost its purpose. The feeling of the story’s structure essentially unravelling before you effectively comments on the state of the character’s minds and instils in the viewer the same emotions that are present on stage. It is this inclusion that makes Airswimming a very evocative and memorable show. The lack of a clearly defined plot makes space to explore the full breadth of Dora and Persephone’s emotions.

The very intimate space of the venue had both its merits and its drawbacks. While it was successful in emulating the story’s overarching feelings of claustrophobia and confinement, from a practical point of view, it afforded too little space for clear scene changes and didn’t allow the best views for the audience. However, the quality of the performances and the poignancy of the story are more than enough to distract from these small disadvantages. Overall, Airswimming is an admirable piece of theatre that deserves every recommendation.

Reviews by Lois Zoppi

Sweet Werks 2

Good Grief

★★★
Sweet Werks 1

The Hunters of Ghost Hall

★★★
Middle Street Synagogue

Middle Street Synagogue Open Days

★★★
MEET: Outside Old Ship Hotel

The Subversive Sussex Walk

★★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

“A feelgood comedy set in the most unlikely of places” (The Guardian). Critically acclaimed Weird Sisters present a touching tale of two women abandoned in a psychiatric hospital. Forgotten for 50 years, they create a surreal fantasy life enlivened by Doris Day, a Moulinex hand whisk and Airswimming.

Most Popular See More

SIX

From £29.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Witness for the Prosecution

From £19.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Book of Mormon

From £25.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Play That Goes Wrong

From £25.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Pretty Woman: The Musical

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Life of Pi

From £19.00

More Info

Find Tickets