Sarah Milton headlines the Who Runs The World festival at the King's Head Theatre with Tumble Tuck. Camille LaPaix examines the price of success for Milton:

Written by and starring Sarah Milton, Tumble Tuck examines what success means to Daisy, a young woman. It embarks on a journey, from women’s relationships – with their mothers, first loves, best friends and bodies – to mental health, illustrated by a chlorine-scented powerhouse of a performance.

Daisy is exceptionally elated, aghast and almost as terrified when she is asked by swimming team captain Kath to become part of the team. As she races in the pool’s deep waters, the audience becomes a spectator of Daisy’s personal race against herself and her own demons. Tumble Tuck is elegantly woven with authentic dialogues (‘I got endorphins [at the gym] alright. From leaving.’), poetic reflections, masterful movement scenes and clockwork humour – all thanks to some witty writing and smooth comic-timing.

Tumble Tuck King's Head Theatre

Sarah Milton (image courtesy of Alex Brenner)

Milton’s narrative ingeniously weaves in body image and the mere experience of taking up space, through Daisy’s self-consciousness of jiggly legs, flat arms and non-petiteness. As she exposes herself to the audience, slowly turning around and commenting on every inch of herself, Tumble Tuck steers the focus towards a raw vulnerability that culminates when Daisy finds her teammate in the bathroom, fingers down her throat. ‘Will I have to be sick to be good?’ ponders Daisy, as Milton flawlessly pinpoints a haunting and unsaid question that many women can relate to.

Tumble Tuck King's Head Theatre

Sarah Milton (image courtesy of Alex Brenner)

Tom Wright’s direction creates two universes. There is the halcyon world in the pool: quiet, slow and peaceful, made up of impeccably-timed and poetic movement pieces (‘twisting and turning and breathing’), which collides with her unfortunate reality, made up of suffocating mothers, phoney friends, terrifying teammates and murderous ex-boyfriends. The subtlety and brilliance of the script and performance come to light when you realize that the only place where Daisy is drowning is out of the swimming pool.

Tumble Tuck King's Head Theatre

Sarah Milton (image courtesy of Scott Rylander)

Milton sways in between worlds and characters with a ease that enables you to enjoy the drawl of a confident athlete, a smothering and worried mother and a wide-eyed and knavish best friend. As Daisy, her performance fluctuates between the weight of sinking and the freedom of floating, the petulance of a young daughter and the conflicting feelings of guilt & shame, self-consciousness & vulnerability, and strength, of a young woman.

As you reach the end of your journey in the King’s Head Theatre, you find yourself faced with a Daisy who empowered herself and grew on her own. It is her race and she isn’t changing – not her name, not her home, not her body, not herself – for anyone.  Tumble Tuck leaves the audience longing to look for their closest pool to embark of such a voyage of self-discovery for themselves.

 

 

★★★★★

Tumble Tuck runs at the King’s Head Theatre until 12 May 2018 as part of the Who Runs The World festival. For further information, please visit the venue website.