‘How to Swim in Hollywood’ is a one woman play set in 1979 Beverly Hills, ‘Daisy’ is our eyes and ears to this infamously ‘dreamy’ life in Hollywood.
The show’s writer and actress Alice Sylvester not only acts as the central character ‘Daisy’ but also has written and directed the entire show. It is an impressive feat, but this is where the show has its downfall as it tries to include too many different idea – from the murder of Sharon Tate to the hallow Hollywood existence – which sometimes breaks the audience out of the intoxicating narrative.
The play works as a literary polaroid of life, portraying the universal experiences of women: sexual exploitation, toxic beauty standards, gendered experiences and lack of female sexual education. It is a well-timed period response to the current #MeToo Movement in Hollywood.
Where the play excels is in its use of visual and audible motifs to propel the sense of the period, the employment of the song to help time and anchor the narrative in a tangible period makes the entire experience hypnotic, as if you stumbled across a personal diary with the experiences of a stranger from a different period.
Daisy evokes this physical feeling of being all locked up at her vanity, echoing her music box by being in one of her own memories narrated with the The Hollies song ‘The Air that I breathe’. With her long blonde hair and white dressing gown, dancing around her small room she becomes her own music box doll.
The Valleys-born actress created The Bathtub Heroine theatre company in 2016 and her previous work Sylvia Plath, Your Words Are Just Dust is in New York in November at Theatre Row on 42 Street, as a part of UnitedSolo – the world’s largest solo theatre festival.