10 October 2016

Sarah Milton impressed in Tumble Tuck at Soho Theatre

As excuses for going to the theatre go, a chance meeting on a train with a pretty young woman is one of the more romantic (in a 1950's black and white film way, where older men treated younger women like their nieces). I was on a train out of Waterloo after Spine when I got into a short serendipitous conversations with Sarah Milton. In this she mentioned that she had a show on at Soho Theatre the following week. It would have been churlish not to go.

Getting there proved to be harder than it should have. I made the mistake of talking to somebody on the way out of the office, got delayed by a couple of minutes and missed my train by a handful of seconds, unable to get on thanks to the crowds coming out of the station. The subsequent train was delayed by over ten minutes which made the third train on the timetable the second one due and my best option, then that started getting later and later. It got so late that the delayed second train became the second train again. It arrived to some confusion as it was announced as stopping at Waterloo only. That did not suit the many people heading home to places like Wimbledon but it suited me just fine.

In the end I got to the theatre just in time to collect my ticket before they opened the doors. I was the second person up the stairs and took a seat in the centre next to one that was reserved. The first person up, a young woman, having sat somewhere else changed her mind and came and set in the chair next to me. We had a nice chat about theatre while waiting for the show to start; Tennessee Williams was mentioned. By then the place was pretty full.

There was no set and very few props. I like that.

On to that empty stage walked Daisy played by Sarah Milton, she was the sole performer as well as the playwright. She was wearing a swimming suit, hence the title Tumble Tuck. She had unexpectedly found herself in a swimming team and it was about to be her leg of the relay. She did her best and they got a medal.

Then the story exploded in several directions and we explored Daisy's relationships with her mother, her best friend, her former boyfriend currently in prison, and the star swimmer on the team. Sarah played all of these roles as Daisy told us her story. It was an emotional story too with pressure to perform, a house devoid of food, a murder, body pride, a secret relationship maintained through letters, and a young woman trying to come to terms with all that life had thrown her. She did remarkably well.

Sarah Milton did even better. The play was nicely crafted with plenty of drams, a few justifiable twists in the story and dollops of humour, often from Daisy's representation of other people. Sarah made Daisy somebody that I cared about.

After the show I nursed a coffee in the bar (I'm on antibiotics) in the hope that Sarah would come in. She did and was swamped by admires. I waited for the frenzy to die down a little before going across to add my praise to all the rest, all well deserved.

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