Theatre review: At A Stretch - Jordan & Skinner

Five stars for visual theatre company Jordan & Skinner


Jassy Earl

How do you talk to kids about two women falling in love? How might you communicate this to an adult with a learning disability or an audience where some people find spoken English inaccessible?


Well, visual theatre company Jordan & Skinner have created a beautiful and playful piece of aesthetically simple yet stunning theatre with At A Stretch.


It is a play without words, yet it feels like nothing is lacking. I felt like I understood and related to it all. There were a range of children, young people, and adults with learning disabilities in the audience I was part of who seemed equally enthralled from start to finish. Billed as a show for families about two women who meet and fall in love, I also didn’t feel out of place attending as a solo adult, so don’t let that put you off if you don’t have little ones in your life to accompany you to a performance.


Wonderfully directed by Caitlin Skinner, the play navigated gentle moments of tentative attraction, messy moments on the road to connecting with someone you fancy, and some chances to laugh out loud, primarily from Melanie Jordan’s well-crafted clowning expressions.


I was already absorbed by the two characters meeting and parkour like skills of Emma Anderson, when a third of the way through the show we’re presented with the elastic. Used as piece of visual storytelling, brightly coloured lengths of elastic adorn all corners of the stage, representing feelings and relationships, accentuating the modern, impressive set of which both performers seemed to effortlessly navigate amidst the ever changing web of elastic.


There is a lovely dance scene where the challenges of being in a heteronormative space are explored with only the use of two shirts as props to communicate a rich range of emotions.


It was a short Edinburgh Fringe Festival run for this confident and well put together production at the Scottish Storytelling Centre which is now over, but they’ll next be performing at The Tron Theatre in Glasgow on 23 September.


* * * * *


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