Reviewed by Amanda Hayes
My mum and I watched tonight’s performance of Treading Water in The Studio at The Hawth in Crawley. The Studio is The Hawth’s smaller performance space and with a surprisingly intimate feel fits perfectly with a pared down production such as this. With plenty of free parking and a bar area which is comfortable, relaxing and well stocked with drinks, snacks and ice creams it’s a great place to view a show.
Treading water is written and performed by Kathryn Gardner, from her own Oxford born Subtle Paws Theatre Company. With a cast of just three it tells a, sort of but not quite, love story between Sue and a man she watches regularly but until now has never met. Sue and Carol are lifeguards and spend their days watching people on the beach. When a man and his dog roam the sands every day with a metal detector searching for treasure they begin to start wondering who he is and where he comes from. Sue is a hopeless romantic and begins to dream of meeting him and falling in love but is too scared to even say hello.
Carol has troubles of her own but forms a clumsy plan to entice the dog over using her birthday cake as bait. When the dog is here she surmises, the man will follow, and Sue can start a conversation. As expected this doesn’t quite go to smoothly. With an equal mix or sadness and humour the production tells the tale of the two lifeguards and their completely opposite attitude to life and love.
My mum and I enjoyed this production from the Subtle Paws Theatre Company. The actors were good and the story convincing, but we found it lacking in depth. The performance was very short, at only 55 minutes long, so it was hard to answer all the questions the audience had about the characters. Carols predicament was touching but we felt it could have been expanded to have a much bigger part in the play. And whilst we thoroughly enjoyed the humour there could have been plenty more of it without detracting from the storyline. Nevertheless, we had an entertaining evening at one of my favourite theatres and would look out for further performances from Subtle Paws.
For other shows at The Hawth in Crawley visit hawth.co.uk or call the box office on 01293 553636.
The Hawth, Hawth Avenue, Crawley, Sussex, RH10 6YZ | 01293 553636