By turns funny and desperately sad, Airswimming is an uplifting story about friendship, fantasy and freedom.
In 1924, Persephone Baker is planning her coming-out ball at the Dorchester when she finds herself abandoned at St Dymphna’s Hospital for the Criminally Insane, with only “unhinged, cigar smoking, monomaniac transsexual” Dora Kitson for company.
Forgotten for fifty years, they create alter egos who exist in a surreal fantasy world enlivened by Doris Day, two thousand Bolshevik women, a Moulinex hand whisk and... Airswimming.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Broadway Baby
"Highly Recommended Show" FringeReview
★ ★ ★ ★ Female Arts
★ ★ ★ ★ Remote Goat
"Spell-binding performances" LondonTheatre1
"...There are stellar performances from both Tanya Chainey as Dorph and Alison Nicol as Porph, their onstage chemistry is at its’ most tangible when they escape into their fantasy alter egos of Porph as Doris Day and Dorph as a toy solider of the highest regiment. Portraying insanity in a believable manner is no mean feat and the pair do so triumphantly.The songs of Doris Day are recurring motifs throughout Airswimming. They are sung on stage, the use of a piano and a whistled version of Que Sera Sera acts as a particularly haunting ear-worm. Another memorable moment is the simple but effective choreographed unison of the duo going swimming through the air. Nicol’s gleeful childlike innocence foiled perfectly by Chainey’s brisk jolly-hockey-sticks manner."
Ruby Isla Cera Merle The Reviews Hub
"Each actor is well cast. Tanya Chainey is likeable and charismatic as Dora/Dorph, and Alison Nicol uses her era-appropriate voice to mimic Doris Day’s oeuvre with tragic naïveté. They move fluidly between scenes, showing us the irony of the decline in the characters’ mental health due to institutionalisation itself. The play is demanding – both actors remain onstage for the duration – but they rise well to the needs of the piece .. [Airswimming] is lyrical and poetic, drawing on myth, history and pop culture, and it remains engaging and intriguing to the last. Airswimming is a good, character-driven piece, and a rare opportunity for two women to portray a varied, long-lasting friendship away from the male gaze."
Vivienne Egan Fringe Guru