Spin - Gilded Balloon Edinburgh Fringe
Health and happiness are not the same
Spending a month performing at the Edinburgh Fringe is a feat of stamina all by itself but Kate Sumpter has imposed an additional challenge upon herself. She has opted to stage a piece performed almost entirely in the saddle of a spin bike. Far more than a gimmicky ploy to boost ticket sales, Sumpter has instead crafted one of the most brutal yet heartfelt plays on offer at this year’s festival and it deserves to be seen en masse.
Sumpter portrays an up-and-coming fitness instructor, who has utterly immersed herself in the world of fitness, health and spin. It has pulled her from deep ruts and provided her with the purpose and structure she craves, in short spin is everything to her. She gives us a behind the scenes view into how she crafts her workouts, planning out the songs to get the best out of the class and even sharing her insight into the various types of people who attend exercise classes. Sumpter is wickedly funny and relatable here, her comedic rhythm naturally exceptional putting even a less than casual gym goer at ease. But this is part of her instructor performance and something more unsettling loiters behind the facade.
Being healthy is good right? Watching your weight and continually striving to be one's best self is surely a sensible thing that can’t hurt anyone yeah? That’s what the borderline cult-like world of the fitness industry would have you believe, there is always more fat to burn or muscle to gain. But after an incident with her sister, the instructor catches herself questioning if that is really the case. Sumpter achieves the near impossible accomplishment of shifting at breakneck speed between wild hilarity and devastating torment in mere moments, maintaining total control at all times - a magnificently composed performance. She lays everything out on the stage, in near violent moments of vulnerability, a true force to be reckoned with.
Sumpter and team have done seriously impressive work in sincerely representing an under-discussed area that often silently torments swathes of people around the world. An uncomfortable watch yes, but this show is at points symmetrically hilarious and tender. A brave script and blistering performance make this a must see fringe hit.
Running 5-8th, 10-20th, 22-27th - Tickets