Venue: The Drama Studio, University of Sheffield (date of show 22 October 2010, performance ran from 20 to 23 October 2010)
The thin line which straddles love and hate doesn’t just get crossed in Pool (no water) – by leading British theatre company Frantic Assembly – it gets positively trodden and stamped on, in this startling and thoughtful exploration of the notion of friendship and love.
Originally devised with acclaimed writer Mark Ravenhill, (The Cut, Shopping and Fucking) this vibrant physical theatre piece centres around the tangled, complicated emotional dynamic between four obscure artists and their rich, famous friend, Ellie.
After many years apart, the group visit Ellie, a talented and feted artist, at her luxurious home – complete with outdoor pool – and a night of celebration leads to their hostess suffering a terrible freak accident. It’s only then, the dark underbelly of the true, visceral feelings of the visting quartet for their estranged ‘friend’ come to vivid light, unravelling in disturbing and twisted ways.
Despite the sometimes confused and disjointed use of symbolism, the physicality of the performers is well-paced and musical interludes add an additional, haunting layer to the show. Although the script merely skims the surface of the world the characters exist in at times, Pool (no water) is overall a brave and bold production, which is well worth a dip for fans of challenging, entertaining theatre.