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Edinburgh Fringe 2018

Drowning Not Waving

The Palimpsisters in association with Mardyarts

Genre: Comedy, Theatre

Venue: Greenside @ Infirmary Street


Low Down

A DJ. A raver. A professor of Food Policy. A joyous romp of a live art, performance lecture experience, combining a heady mix of early 90s rave culture with the biggest political issue of our time. You will be raving in the aisles whilst turning for your soap box. Happily subverting the accepted norms, Drowning not Waving is a slap to the farce of the entire Brexit pantomime. Interlaced with Professor Tim Lang’s pressing proclamation on Brexit’s effect on the food we consume and the rise and fall of Britain’s food membership of the European Union.


A channel swimmer perched on the tiniest sandy beach – replete with a sand castle – and she

swims for her life! Sally Boon is exhilarated and dynamic demonstrating a variety of strokes. She

looks at the audience which makes her go faster.

Clad in a life jacket, a union flag design swim suit, swim cap and goggles Boon keeps going at an electric pace while Neil Broughton is an enthusiastic DJ on stage with a professional setup. Once all this gets going, it’s like a gig or performance art – or something else!

What it is, is nothing short of fascinating and as the thirty minute show continues what we hear is quite shocking!

Coloured lights courtesy of the DJ who by now is on the stage building the excitement with loud 90s music, our swimmer performs many sequences of strokes and well choreographed movement – standing on a tea tray size sandy beach enclosed in cement!

A gentleman in a beige summer suit sits at the left side of the stage in a beach chair. He stands and speaks into a microphone. It turns out that among the apparent chaos and Boon’s zany swimming that this really is a “slap to the farce of the entire Brexit pantomime” as described and that man in the beach chair is none other than Dr. Tim Lang, Professor of Food Policy at the Centre for Food Policy at City, University of London. He is a spoken word artist and professor – giving dire warnings that our food after Brexit will be “brown, brown, brown” like it was during and after the war in the 40s and early 50s.

Dr. Lang gives three short monologues around the theme of food, warning us how we will be going backwards in Brexit. He reminds us about Britain’s journey through hunger, rationing, brown food, Charles de Gaulle, Common Market, dietary change, wine, pasta, Mrs Thatcher and holidays!

Lang’s compact monologues are very effective in content and performance and provide information that is surprising and probably shocking to some. However, the swimmer keeps swimming, only pausing for Lang’s erudite words. The music starts up loud, the DJ blows a whistle loudly and Boon is full on, nothing can – or should stop her! Her strokes are symbolic and have deeper meaning. Also interesting is both her feet and shoes are stuck in the cement beach – and later she picks up a large sledge hammer that has been sitting on the stage in front of her…without spoiling what happens – it all ends well with everyone in the room dancing to the loud music!

This is a very entertaining well put together show, and yes, you will laugh a lot but the truth about our future food may shock, should shock. For more about this show and the three performers, listen to my interview with them after the show!