At Swim, Two Boys at the Nuffield Theatre, Southampton

Poet and author Benjamin Zephaniah

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A slowly filling lake, behind it a dripping waterfall – this is the set of At Swim Two Boys – a stark, harsh reminder that this piece of physical dance theatre is not what it seems.

Based on the novel by Jamie O’Neill, this is a haunting, heartbreaking tale of love and friendship during a time of war and is performed entirely in water.

Fresh from their training, Daniel Connor and Murilo Leite D’Imperio are the two boys who share a deep friendship that blossoms into something more. The programme states that it’s set in 1916 during the Easter Rising in Ireland but it has echoes of present political turmoil.

The water acts as their escape; an outlet for their emotions and this is where they express their innermost sentiments. There is a poetic elegance to the way in which they fly about the stage, yet there are moments of pure exhilaration and bursts of high-octane energy.

Connor and D’Imperio perform with robust passion and sheer brute force, which is completely captivating, playing out this tender relationship with a humanistic realism.

An absolutely spellbinding performance of a story that transcends time, complete with dangerously daring stunts makes this a production worth seeing.