Theatre review: Wild Swimming, Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh

This is an amusing, anarchic and deliberately chaotic show that disrupts time, the audience and itself to explore a relationship between two characters, Nell and Oscar, by transplanting them into different centuries over the past 400 years.

Wild Swimming, Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33)

Wild Swimming, Pleasance Courtyard * * *

This is an amusing, anarchic and deliberately chaotic show that disrupts time, the audience and itself to explore a relationship between two characters, Nell and Oscar, by transplanting them into different centuries over the past 400 years. 'Poet scholar' Oscar is going off to university, while Nell is forced to stay at home. Both of them share a love of swimming – and as they dive into different decades, we experience their changing or not-so-changing gender roles.

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The piece is written by Marek Horn, but the characters and the concept often feel less of a focus than the charismatic performers Alice Lamb and Annabel Baldwin's primary aim: to break the show and, tripping over, even themselves. Through improvised asides, audience participation and a self-referential comedy, they undermine any suspension of disbelief by reminding us exactly where we are – in a Fringe venue, complete with rowdy cheers from the performance next door.

Some of the chaos is planned, most of it isn't, but the company know exactly what they're doing and are happy with that. It's a fresh and invigorating approach that, if it was paired with the foundations of a more developed script, could lead to something with more shape while maintaining the boundary-pushing appeal of a wonderfully weird morning out.

SALLY STOTT

Until 26 August