I CAN’T imagine a more perfect setting for SWIM than Keswick’s Theatre by the Lake.

The intimate studio works so well, immersing the audience in evocative words, stunning live music and beautiful visuals.

Centre stage and pulling this all together is Liz Richardson, playwright and performer.

When I originally saw the play’s title emblazoned across a stunning photo (lake sunrise, solo swimmer) I had my suspicions.

I love my swimming. For a few years now I’ve swum at least once a week – in warm sun, howling gales, relentless rain and snow.

And I love the joy it brings to growing numbers of people.

What I’m less keen on is the multitude of people waxing lyrical in the media about ‘wild swimming’.

But SWIM is much more than that. Liz is a local lass with a story to tell. Straight from the heart, true and tragic.

We connect with her immediately as she talks of growing up in the Lake District, walking the fells, playing in the water. She may have headed south at 18 and embraced London life but years later, now with husband, she ‘needed the outdoors’ and headed for the Peak District.

The family embraces community life and all it entails.

There’s lot of fun and freshness as Liz tells us about her new life, accompanied by powerful music, sounds and images.

Talented musician Carmel Smichersgill is alongside Liz on stage, supporting her on the sensory journey, beautifully enhancing the tales.

Liz shares the drama and magic of swimming in beautiful places with a gaggle of good friends, cosy nights at the pub, meals in, fun on the fells.

Then her best mate is floored by heart-breaking news. The tone changes, Liz is desperate to support her grieving friend. Water becomes a central image – cleverly evoked.

As Liz moves naturally around the stage, sharing her life and that of her devastated loved ones, she often talks directly to the audience, creating a strong connection.

SWIM captures so many aspects of real life. While there is grief, distress and raw honesty, light and faith shines through at the end.

SWIM is at Theatre by the Lake until Saturday, April 16, and then: Cumbrian Rural Tour (April 18 to 21) and Rosehill Theatre, Whitehaven (April 22).

Tickets and more details at www.theatrebythelake.com.