Tumble Tuck

Though not the most affecting one-woman show of the festival, Tumble Tuck, written and performed by Sarah Milton, still definitely manages to make a splash. Daisy is a seemingly ordinary teenager with a passion for one thing: swimming. However, when she is invited by Miss Popular, Kath, to join a competitive team at her local pool, whats starts off as a bit of light exercise takes a more intense turn. As Daisy’s competitive anxieties begin to surface, we learn that swimming in fact provides a much-needed escape from her traumatic past.

Tumble Tuck may not be the strongest swimmer in a sea of one-woman shows here at the festival but, for its blend of emotional impact and humour, it is definitely worth a watch.

Milton’s script is extremely well-paced, moving at a speed that keeps an audience interested whilst never feeling rushed. Daisy’s backstory is tantalisingly unwrapped piece by piece, but shock value is still very much retained. Body image, eating disorders and trauma are all addressed thoughtfully and sensitively. A slightly longer performance, even with just 10 minutes added, would enable Milton to go further into these themes since it feels like this production only scrapes the surface.

Daisy occasionally comes across as somewhat irritating thanks to an over-exaggerated accent and child-like performance. However, her accidental humour, found in all sorts of situations, had the audience in stitches. By contrast, her moments of doubt and anguish are incredibly powerful. Milton also brings to life other characters from Daisy’s surroundings with variety and energy, thus keeping the production vibrant. Her portrayal of Kath, the Queen Bee with a hidden vulnerable side, is particularly interesting. The on-stage swimming, combined with effective lighting and sound choices, never feels awkward or out of place. Instead, Milton presents a young woman in her element when gliding through the water.

Tumble Tuck may not be the strongest swimmer in a sea of one-woman shows here at the festival but, for its blend of emotional impact and humour, it is definitely worth a watch. 

Reviews by Carla van der Sluijs

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

'I've never raced. I'm too jiggly to be here.' Daisy's swimming the relay, but her legs still jiggle... and her front crawl is 'a bit f*cking feminine'. She shouldn't be here. Written and performed by the acclaimed Sarah Milton, Tumble Tuck explores what it means to be successful in a world where medals matter. 'When I swim, it all goes away.' Tumble Tuck was first presented by the Old Vic New Voices and then The Soho Theatre in Autumn 2016. Produced by BackHere! Theatre and directed by Tom Wright with original music composed by Harry Blake. @TumbleTuckPlay