Hold Me Close

From dance routines dating back to childhood, to embarrassing anecdotes relating to their PE teacher, Hold Me Close is a wonderful montage of Sophie and Jade’s friendship. The show explores the pair’s ‘best bits’ before Sophie leaves their hometown to go to university. It was comical, at times chaotic (and I mean that in the best way), emotional, and a joy to watch. I wasn’t entirely sure if it was partly improvised or they just wanted you to believe so, but you could tell how much fun Ella McCallum (Sophie) and Elspeth McColl (Jade) were having: which led you to have fun too!

A fond reflection on female friendship

The musical interludes and mini mimed scenes were great. At one point the women were engaged in a police chase, melodramatically running around holding a blue flashing light which was ‘accidentally’ soundtracked by the Holby City theme tune instead of The Bill. They also referred to one scene as "very GCSE drama" which I thought was hilarious and evident that they felt comfortable poking fun at themselves.

Inviting the audience to choose the order of the show was an excellent way to break the fourth wall and include us within the performance. This happened by spinning a wheel, which was comprised of the different scenes that made up the show. The women had the audience chanting "spin the wheel’" eagerly at them, and it was clever that the show could be performed in any order. With the colourful wheel centre stage and intriguing props scattered around, the space was used excellently with the scenes taking place in different areas. However, Covid restrictions definitely negatively impacted the amount of audience interaction, which was disappointing, but not the fault of performers. I would be interested to see the show post-Covid, without the current necessary safety measures in place, to see how the audience could participate further.

My main wish was for a few more references to the plot line of Sophie moving away to university. As the show could have been performed in any order depending on where the wheel landed, it sometimes felt a little fragmented. There were some sombre moments of the girls arguing which were a good way to change the mood of the show, but the addition of a couple more links back to the overarching plot could be beneficial to the flow of the piece before the wheel is spun again.

Overall, Hold Me Close felt like a fond reflection on female friendship – a show that’s bound to make you laugh, bring a smile to your face, and possibly a tear or two.

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Reviews by Amy Betteridge

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

A wheel of fortune, karaoke and strongbow dark fruits - everything you need for a good show right? Well, add in a story of a female friendship that has an expiration date, a love letter to home and a sh*t tonne of cardboard and you have Skin and Blister Theatre's Hold Me Close.

Hold Me Close is the farewell tour that Sophie and Jade are throwing for their friendship. Friends throughout their teenage years, they've grown together but now apart. Wanting different things from life, feeling differently about their class roots and differently about what home means to them. This is their chance to showcase their favourite parts of their friendship, from the dance they made when they were 12, to how they blagged their way into the press section of a premiere, to dealing with grief and loss. And *spoiler* you, the audience decide the order of the show!

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