Old Vic New Voices: Tumble Tuck @ Wilderness 2016 Review

Competition is a trait inherent in humanity, no matter how non competitive you believe you are. Competition isn’t just a factor attributed to education, it’s a factor that lives among us constantly. Sarah Milton‘s Tumble Tuck focuses on this, placing a relatable facade on an otherwise daunting term.


In collaboration with Old Vic New Voices, Milton crafts an honest 30 minute one woman show depicting her interactions with individuals that have helped to shape who she has become today. Based mainly in her local swimming pool, Milton presents a young strong female protagonist driven by her will to succeed, despite pivotal events that could have had her go down a darker alternate path.

It takes a while for Milton to really live and breathe the world of her fearless protagonist, however she welcomes the introduction of various characters with ease, bringing the likes of Danny, her unforgiving swimming coach, the aspirational Kath the swimming team captain, her quirky mother and Alice her endearing best friend to life. These personalities liven up the piece and showcase Milton as a versatile performer and writer.

Tumble Tuck is an unapologetic antidote to the otherwise candy coated coming of age stories we are quite often bombarded with in films; humanising the female teenage experience, and this is to be commended. Our protagonist often talks of her counselor, serving as a constant reminder of her internal struggles that she often has to compete with. It’s endearing to watch the overt competition of her competing for a medal and juxtaposing this with the competition she faces with herself. Milton cleverly repeats the line ‘I want to swim my own race’ and this rings true throughout the piece, the notion of competition however can be heightened further.

Milton’s writing shines brightest when she literally depicts and breaks down her swimming technique whilst taking part in a race and then repeats the same phrase but symbolically. This is a convention that can be capitalised on even further due to its symbolic nature. A brilliant start to a piece that definitely speaks to many young girls perhaps battling with issues and need a cathartic outlet.

Review written by Lucy Basaba.

Tumble Tuck was shown on Friday 4th August at Wilderness 2016. For more information on the festival, visit here…

Written by Theatrefullstop