Theatre Critic and Journalist

Review: Swing, Cock Tavern

Review: Swing, Cock Tavern

Published in Time Out, 02.06.2010

Rapidity of response has always been one of theatre’s advantages. Yet that immediacy is surely undermined when it’s up against instant online comment and analysis. While churning out a drama based on the general election so soon is impressive, the arguments in Swing already feel well-worn.

Couples become a metaphor for coalitions here, as two neighbouring families sell out on left-wing beliefs for personal gain. Meanwhile, John, a reformed banker-turned-carpentry apprentic, finds happiness with Emma before revealing the reason behind his transformation: lymphoma.

Likeable performances and an openness of about process keep Swing entertaining, but it’s under-interrogated and dramatically clumsy: at times hiked up with a revelatory jerk, at others limply deflated, while individual scenes retain the wooliness of improv.

As with the election itself, this show’s problems are largely economic: it needs cutting with the rigour of a George Osbournce.

Photograph: Christopher Chudleigh

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