Oxford’s Old Fire Station is renowned for premiering some truly brilliant, profound and funny Christmas shows, and this year’s Glacier is no different.
Alison Spittle‘s 2023 offering is based around three women who meet accidentally at a lake on Christmas Day, whilst wild swimming. READ ABOUT IT HERE
Set against a backdrop of historic news headlines, their lives pan out over the next 14 years through pregnancy and heartache, bereavement and loss. If this all sounds a bit schmaltzy and predictable, then that’s to underestimate the relevance and validity of Alison Spittle‘s script.
‘Lucy, Jools and Dawn highlight what’s really important through humour, a few home truths and some bad Christmas jumpers’
Because instead of wallowing in sentimentality, Spittle concentrates on realism, ensuring a sharp, sparky script that rattles along at a cracking pace, as imparted by these three swimmers who appear to have nothing in common.
The only given is that they swim in the same lake on Christmas Day; but in so doing their observations, quirks, insecurities and disclosures pan out like waves, each segment leaving you wanting more.
Directed by Madelaine Moore, Glacier focuses on how and why these women have ended up at the lake alone on Christmas Day, a stark reminder that while Christmas is traditionally a time for family and friends, for others it can be a lonely, fractious and difficult time of year.
Proud wife and mother Lucy played by (Emma Lau) kicks it all off in 2007 by lobbing her wedding ring into said lake in hysterics, hitting disgruntled fellow swimmer – the spiky Dawn (Debra Baker), all wryly observed by the acerbic Jools (Sophie Steer) – athlete, mum and Christmas dinner hater.
An unlikely, slow and at times uncomfortable friendship then develops, interspersed with drama and tragedy – from discovering a corpse by the lakeside to hosting a Crisis charity swim – their stories slowly emerge.
Or as Jools puts it: “Are we friends? Well I’d go to your funeral and I don’t hate your guts.”
Because amidst the banter, irritation and life choices, their genuine need for human warmth, understanding and companionship is palpable,
And through the laughter and tears, Spittle ensures that we approach Christmas with increased awareness, compassion and kindness, regardless of the extenuating political landscape and financial insecurities.
So go and see Glacier! You’ll emerge brighter and warmer, inside and out – Lucy, Jools and Dawn highlighting what’s really important through humour, a few home truths and some bad Christmas jumpers.
Glacier runs at Oxford’s Old Fire Station until December 23. BOOK HERE