SALT LAKE CITY — Wild Swimming (written by Marek Horn), produced by Stone Fruit Theatre at the Great Salt Fringe Festival, was an interesting comedy. I enjoyed the passion and energy throughout, displayed by both actors, and the set and costumes made the show.
The story follows Nell and Oscar, friends through the centuries from the 1700s to present. They argue and play, fight and make up, swim and read. I enjoyed their banter, the two characters sometimes fell into personal attacks to each other, which was much more irritating. However, the script makes good points about how to treat people with respect, and about unfairness across the centuries disadvantaged women.
Nell was played by Suni Gigliotti, who was glorious at explaining chauvinism in many different arguments. She had some hilarious lines, and pulled the timing off expertly, like when exasperated and talking about the class system, she said “some boring lower middle class nutritional deficiency,” trying to remember which disease someone had.
Oscar was played by Alec Kalled and also gave a fine performance. He was great at including the audience, and at one point he even brought someone on stage to create a time hole so Oscar did not have to face the 21st century. Kalled was encouraging and supportive of audience members who participated, which was fun and inclusive. I liked how he played his character very nonchalant, until later when he has to face society changing so drastically.
The backdrop was a shower curtain with a picture of a beach on it, and when the time period changed, they actors would open the curtains to reveal a large old chest, where they got new clothes and props for the next scene. The performers even did a few movements to support the magic, like the time warp dance. (It was fun and energetic with some good music in the background to keep the beat.) The costumes were pleasing, but not too elaborate, so it was easy for the actors to change quickly. I liked the neck collars (ruffs) they used at the beginning, and how at the end one turned into a kind of Hawaiian lei for the modern beach day. Kalled had a cane in the 1920’s scene which doubled for a gun when he had to show how he got his war wound which made him have to use the cane. Director Shianne Gray‘s ability to put all the parts of a scene together was always satisfying to watch.
Since the actors could not actually swim on stage, they set up some squirt guns, sometimes given to audience members to spray the two down, as they pretended to soak or swim in the water. Gigliotti even playfully reprimanding someone who kept squirting after she had requested the squirt guns back, a playful bit of ad libbing that I enjoyed.
Despite some of the banter feeling too repetitive, I enjoyed the premise of Wild Swimming and seeing how the characters moved through time, especially with their props and costumes.