Swimming at The Pleasance Dome (30 July – 25 Aug 2014) was Menagerie’s eighth foray into the Edinburgh Fringe Festival; previous Fringe shows include Four For Jericho (2011), Stand By Your Van (2009) and Correspondence (2008).
A scratch production of Swimming was featured in Hotbed 2013; the 2014 production was produced by Menagerie,  in association with Mercury Theatre, Colchester and Escalator East to Edinburgh.

Swimming: Reviews


***** Edinburgh Evening News 

**** The Stage

**** Public Reviews

“there is a core of truth in what the play shows us that is likely to linger in your thoughts afterwards” Theatre Guide London

“Jane Upton’s three-hander contains some deft observations about young people whose sense of possibilities can seem almost infinite one minute and non-existent in the next. Upton – whose first play Bones was highly acclaimed on the Fringe in 2011 – captures a sense of fragile relationships and emotional vulnerability, and there are strong performances from Jack Bence, Jessica Madsen and Grace Watts.” The Scotsman

“Grace Watts and Jessica Madsen really bring the slightly cliched roles of ‘emo’ girl Milly and posh girl Lucy to life but it is Jack Bence’s sensitive performance as troubled Jack which really makes this show one to watch. The actor, who plays nasty bully Grayson on BBC3 Bad Education, here reveals the heart behind Jack’s bad boy, foul-mouthed exterior. It’s a startling performance.” The Stage

“a feisty reflection on what it is to be young that skips from manners, meaning, prospects and living life for show (#justsaying). Jessica Madsen is a disconcertingly convincing spoilt rich kid who maybe suffers more than she lets on. Grace Watts does emo looking for approval with aplomb. And Jack Bence is particularly noteworthy as a pretty dislikeable character who somehow elicits a grudging sympathy.” Edinburgh Evening News

“Swimming, a new play by Jane Upton, is a lovely story about three young adults working in a beach café on the Isle of Wight. Jack Bence’s authentically blue-collar performance anchors the play, as he embodies both the desires and fears of so many young adults who may dream of more for their life than their small town beginnings portend. Jessica Madsen and Grace Watts provide two different looks at people in pursuit of their dreams, portraying both the courage and distress of leaving the ease and uneasiness of one’s hometown. Upton has created a delightful new play that could be a favorite for student and young adult theatre groups to produce for years to come.” Huffington Post

“A fantastic show – well performed, with a great chemistry between the 3 performers who all give a real sense of what it is to be young and somewhat lost.” To Do List.Org



About Swimming

One more summer and life starts…


Three teenagers trapped on the Isle of Wight, desperate to make their mark on the world. But is the pull of the past too strong?

From Jane Upton, writer of critically acclaimed Bones (2011):

Storytelling to perfection ***** ThreeWeeks

Believable, powerful and quite genuinely heartbreaking. ***** Fest

Under starry skies and seaside lights, Jack, Lucy and Milly are spending their summer working in a greasy seaside café. Behind the banter, bravado and occasional hangover, the three teens struggle with past heartache, disconnection and anxiety about a future they just can’t seem to start living.

A bittersweet comedy about grief, growing up and the paralysing pressure to be somebody.

SWIMMING 2014 starred Jack Bence (BBC’s Bad Education), Jessica Madsen and Grace Watts.

Click here to read more about the cast and creative team!