Category Archives: Literature

Ennillodd Gwynfor Dafydd o Rhondda Cynnon Taf Y Gadair yn yr Eisteddfod 2016 am ei gerdd, sydd am y Cymoedd yn Ne Cymru cyn yr oes diwydiannol/Gwynfor Dafydd from Rhondda Cynnon Taf wins The Chair at The Eisteddfod 2016 for his poem about the post-industry valleys of South Wales.

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Ennillodd Gwynfor Dafydd o Rhondda Cynnon Taf Y Gadair yn yr Eisteddfod 2016 am ei gerdd, sydd am y Cymoedd yn Ne Cymru cyn yr oes diwydiannol/Gwynfor Dafydd from Rhondda Cynnon Taf wins The Chair at The Eisteddfod 2016 for his poem about the post-industry valleys of South Wales.

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Bachgen deunaw oed o Donyrefail ydw i, sydd ar hyn o bryd yn ddisgybl yn Ysgol Llanhari, a chyn hynny fe fûm yn ddisgybl yn Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Tonyrefail. Yr wyf wrth fy modd yn astudio ieithoedd, ac felly os caf y graddau gofynnol, gobeithiaf fynd i Goleg yr Iesu yng Nghaegrawnt y flwyddyn nesaf er mwyn astudio Sbaeneg ac Almaeneg ab initio.

Cerdd am fro fy mebyd ydyw’r gerdd hon sy’n ymateb i erthygl a ddarllenais i â’r pennawd ‘The unbearable sadness of the Welsh valleys.’ Felly, mae hi’n trafod themâu megis ‘anghyfiawnder cymdeithasol’, ‘tlodi’ a ‘diweithdra’ a’r problemau anochel a ddaw law y llaw â hyn. Er hyn, fe geir y teimlad bod cymuned yn mynd i gamu ymlaen erbyn y gerdd olaf, a herio’r sefydliad er mwyn creu cymuned decach a sosialaidd.

I am an eighteen-year-old boy from Tonyrefail, and am currently a student at Ysgol Llanhari, and before that I attended Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Tonyrefail. I enjoy studying languages, and am hoping to go to Cambridge next year to study Spanish and German ab initio, if I obtain the necessary grades.

This is a poem about the unjust treatment of the place in which I was born, responding to a poignant article that I had read with the headline ‘The unbearable sadness of the Welsh valleys.’ Therefore, it discusses themes such as ‘social inequality’, ‘poverty’, ‘unemployment’ and the inevitable consequences of this. However, there is hope in the last poem that the community will challenge the establishment and fight to build an egalitarian and socialist society.

 

‘The unbearable sadness of the Welsh valleys’ – Mark Easton, BBC.

 ‘”Why don’t you leave?” I ask an unemployed man in his 50s. “Because I’m a valleys boy,” comes the reply. “This is home.”’

 Yn datŵ damweiniol

ar noson feddwol, creithiwyd

y lle hwn

yn ddwfn i’r croen

ac i’r cnawd. Nid

fy ffawd, nid fy newis i

oedd deffro i ddyffryn

graffiti a gwm cnoi

lle mae brain yn toi’r

tafarndai a’r capeli a’r siopau.

 

Ond felly y bu.

 

Mae’r graffiti a’r gwm yn glynu,

y tatŵ yn gwrthod crychu,

ac eto,

rwy’n gofyn yn gyson:

 

Ai ni yw dy bobl

ynteu dy wystlon?

 

II

‘Many parts of the UK have suffered from the decline of heavy industry, and the Welsh valleys are a grim emblem of this.’

 

Cerdd Tad-cu beunydd fynyddoedd ei fro,

fel y gwnaeth ganwaith gynt â’i dad-cu e –

yn dilyn ei lwybr at y pyllau glo

a’i mowldiodd yn dalp o bentrefi’r de:

Ceibiwyd ei gefn i frwydro’r gwynt a’r glaw,

weldiwyd ei draed i’r pridd yn gusan hir,

siapiwyd ei ddwylo’n llyw i’w reddfol raw,

a thynnodd ef ddau blentyn bach o’r tir.

Ond heddiw, ar gyfeiliorn, mae ar daith

yn chwilio am fyd sy’n gorwedd fel rhith

dan y bryniau mud a’r twmpathau maith,

a neb i olrhain ei gam ond y gwlith.

Mewn tanchwa drachwantus, daeth gwifrau du

a pheilonau haearn i ardd Tad-cu.

 

III

‘There are no shops around here and the bus to town stops at 6pm. There are children who’ve never been more than a mile or two from their front door.’

 

Mae hi yno’n aros

bob nos yn yr orsaf fysiau.

 

Ni ŵyr pam.

Ni ŵyr i ble mae’r bysiau’n mynd.

Ond gŵyr mai bws yw’r ateb.

 

Rwyt ti wedi ei gweld.

 

Ffroenaist y patrymau

coch

ar hyd ei breichiau.

 

Baglaist dros y caniau gwag

oedd yn ei gwarchae

gan guchio’r minlliw

a staeniodd dy jîns.

 

Cuddiaist glustiau dy blant rhag ei rhegfeydd

(Sh*t. F*ck it. C*nt.)

a gwarafun gweld bod merch fel hon

yn griddfan mewn cynghanedd.

 

A phregethaist dan dy wynt

fod bysiau’n gorffwys

ar ôl chwech.

 

IV

‘Tonight, the place feels abandoned, and many people appear to have given up on God.’

 

Mae’r lle, heno, mor llonydd

â Duw (fel y mae bob dydd),

ei dreigl ar stop, a’i siopau

i gyd â’u shutters ar gau –

rhesi clòs o ddrysau clo

yn hisian … lle bu croeso.

 

Ac mae, heno, gymuned

yn y dump yn chwarae dead

hen le llwyd sy’n casglu llwch,

hen aelwyd mewn anialwch

unig, gwag, cans daeth i’r cwm

hualau … lle bu cwlwm.

 

A heno’n ein cyfannu,

nid oes ond gwe’r gwifrau du –

yn ddi-hid, cyfalaf ddaeth

i hawlio bro brawdoliaeth,

ac mewn ’stâd ddigymen, stêl,

mae’r hen dŷ ’n marw’n dawel.

 

V

‘”Politicians kick us and then they kick us again,” a local despairs.’

 

Mae tlodi’n halogi’n heolydd ni

a’i flas dros weflau’r mynyddoedd tost.

Treiddia ei rym drwy gracs y tai

am nad ydyw’n licio’u cod post.

 

Ymhell, bell dros y dŵr bas

mae ’sgidiau glân a syber-glyd

a droediant yn drwm ar ein strydoedd ni

o bell, bell â’u gwadnau di-hid.

 

Yno, ym mêr y muriau mawrion

mae rhagfarn eu cloc haearnaidd yn byw.

Yma, fe gosbir pawb ’r un fath:

pob hil, pob oed, pob rhyw.

 

Yr un yw’r gri o’r fynwent draw

yn y rhesi hir o feini rhad

a brynodd i’r pellfuddugwyr gynt

eu rhyfel drud ar faes y gad.

 

Ond clywch y drwm yn curo’n rymus

rhwng y cyrff a fwydodd y gweryd â’u gwaed

sy’ heddiw’n had i’r to iau

a dyf o’r dicter dan eu traed.

 

Daw’r curiadau anochel yn amlach,

eu cnulio’n atseinio’n uwch bob tro.

Llyfa’r tir ei wefusau’n wancus

wrth gyfarch eneidiau ‘glanach’ i’r gro.

 

Mae tlodi’n halogi’n heolydd ni,

tlodi sy’n dilyn cod post.

A’r un yw’r ffawd bob ochr i’r ffin –

’dyn ni i gyd yn cyfri’r gost…

Cwm Cnoi

http://www.s4c.cymru/urdd/e_index.php

Digwyddiadau ar stondin Amgueddfa Cymru, Eisteddfod yr Urdd Fflint 2016/Activities on Amgueddfa Cymru-National Museum Wales’s stall, Urdd Eisteddfod 2016

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Menter gymdeithasol wedi’i leoli yn Ne Cymru yw Dyma’ch Cyfle, yn gweithio tuag at greu cyfleoedd i amrywiaeth o bobl sydd am brofi ac ymateb i chwaraeon, celfyddyd, diwylliant a digwyddiadau byw

  • Mae Dyma’ch Cyfle’n arddangos gweithgaredd ar wefan cylchgrawn ar-lein http://getthechance.wales/
  • Mae’r wefan yn cynnwys gweithgreddau gweithdy, adolygiadau, erthyglau golygyddol a llawer mwy
  • Mae’r wefan yn blatfform i’n haelodau i rannu, trafod a gwerthuso eu hymatebion personol gyda’u rhwydweithiau a’r byd ben baladr
  • Dyma’ch Cyfle yw’r gymdeithas sy’n cynrychioli aelodau Beirniaid Ifanc Cymru, Beirniaid Cymunedol Cymru a 3ydd Act

Digwyddiadau ar stondin Amgueddfa Cymru, Eisteddfod yr Urdd Fflint 2016

 Dydd Mercher, 1 Mehefin 11:00 – Gweithdy Beirniadu gydag Aneirin Karadog

Dydd Iau, 2 Mehefin 10:30, 12:00, 14:00, 15:00 – Gweithdai Beirniadu Dyma’ch Cyfle

 

Get The Chance is a social enterprise based in South Wales, working to create opportunities for a diverse range of people to experience and respond to sport, arts, culture and live events

  • Get The Chance uses its online magazine website http://getthechance.wales/ to showcase its activity
  • The website content will feature workshop activity and outcomes, reviews, editorial features and much more
  • Our website is a platform for our members to share, discuss and evaluate their personal responses with their networks and the wider world
  • Get the Chance is the host organisation for members of Young Critics Wales, Community Critics Wales and 3rd Act Critics

 Activities on Amgueddfa Cymru-National Museum Wales’s stall, Urdd Eisteddfod 2016

 Wednesday, 1 June 11:00 – Critic Workshop with Aneirin Karadog (Welsh language)

Thursday, 2 June 10:30, 12:00, 14:00, 15:00 – Get a Chance Critic Workshops (Bilingual)

Preview Milieu with Rhys Milsom

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Our project coordinator recently spoke to Get the Chance Creative Associate Rhys Milsom about the multi-disciplinary arts event he curates ,Milieu.

Hi Rhys, can you tell us about Milieu?

Sure, Milieu is a quarterly night of literature, art and photography. Always held at Little Man Coffee Co, and always free entry, the events so far have been jam-packed, with barely any standing room left. Milieu is French for ‘middle’ but also stands for ‘social environment’. This is key, as the art exhibitions are held downstairs in Little Man and the literature is held upstairs. Therefore, people meet in the middle as they go from the exhibitions to the readings and create a social environment for themselves doing so! Milieu is all about promoting up-and-coming, and established, writers and artists.

Sounds great! What are your aims with the event?

The aim is to give these writers and artists the chance to showcase their work in an environment that is creative, fun and inclusive to everyone who appreciates the arts. So far, Milieu has seen writers such as Rhian Elizabeth, Dan Tyte, Matthew David Scott and Rhys Milsom read and artists such as Liam Barrett, Pip Barrett and Jaydon Martin exhibiting their work.

Thats a great list of Wales based writers and artists, when is the next event planned?

The next event is June 10th at Little Man and we have Adam Jenkins, Renn, Gary Raymond and David Lllewellyn reading from their work with Liam Barrett exhibiting his art.

Come down and immerse yourself into a creative nucleus of Cardiff!

Thanks for your time Rhys.

https://www.facebook.com/events/1604132006545049/

 

Project Review, Making It! by Helen Joy

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Parama 2 Making it – LIVE!

A review of the programme of scripting workshops leading up to and including, the production: by a participant.

A small group of women of a certain age gather together in the curious spare rooms and spaces of the Wales Millennium Centre every Tuesday afternoon for 9 weeks.

March 15th

We introduce ourselves cautiously to our facilitators, Valmai Jones and Catrin Edwards; and to each other. Why are we here? Personal growth and development, honing skills and learning new ones, changing paths, making connections. A mixed bag of skills too–clowning, illustrating, writing, performing, acting – and a fair few years of life experience to boot. We watch Catrin’s film, Voices From the Factory Floor, with extra voices from the WMC breast cancer charity fashion show below. A heady mixture of women’s words on a Tuesday afternoon.

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Responding to the characters in the film seems easier to some than others. Some slip into roles easily; others struggle a little; I have no idea how to pretend and can only be me. I am astonished at the ease with which our group brings life and animation and speech to these women we have only glimpsed, sometimes second or even third hand. Real stories slip out so naturally hidden in the make-believe.

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Now, Val employs a little trick each week. Relaxation exercises for the body and the brain with closed eyes. Her mellifluous Welsh lilt calms our nervous spirits and revives our inner creativity. Staring intensely at paper mandalas to free up our right brains – mind over myth – becomes part of our shared experiences, part of bonding the group and comforts changes with consistency. This is neat.
We play a kind of Consequences – throw our titles into a hat, pick one, write some lines, pass it on… we read them out – remarkably adept little stories, tight, funny, sad, clever but mostly text, not so much dialogue.

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As the weeks roll on, we learned to examine characters and how to bring them to life through words and play. We had homework: write up your character – give her life. Give her words to say. And playlets form with monologues, dialogues, complex scenarios. Characters cry, laugh, shout and dance. Some of us stay with the themes of the film; some use the Consequences storylines; others choose something new. Somehow, perhaps not surprisingly, we all talk about the influential women n our lives.

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I struggle with reading out my words, my dialogue. And the first time it matters, I can’t do it. I am ten years old and I will be humiliated. I hand my script to Val. She is so kind and talks me through ideas and scenarios and builds my confidence.

The call goes out – posters are ready, the time and date is set – we will be performing at 3pm on the 9th May in the Preseli Rooms at the WMC. Tell your friends and families.

I write a script over an evening. I have been mulling over the idea for a few weeks now without realising. I cannot face reading it. I wonder how the others are managing.

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May 8th

Rehearsals. It is a beautiful, hot sunny day outside and we are all inside, fretting over scripts, tripping over stage hands and working with professional actors. This is getting very real. We are called to the stage, Val is acting and Catrin is directing. We are multi-tasking at a superhuman level.
I cannot open my eyes when they start to read my play. Gradually, I uncurl and watch and listen and begin to edit and critique and love it. Not love my work – but love the process. I discover acting is a joy – to be someone else for someone else is a privilege. I try so hard to do it as well as I can. Everyone else seems so much better at this but inside, I guess, we all feel the nervous.

May 9th, 3pm

Somehow, out of all the chaos, a slick series of plays is presented to a small but hugely appreciative audience. All credit to Catrin and Val for their inspiration and facilitation. All credit to the actors and stage hands for adding that professional edge.
And to us? Well. We pulled it off.

The audience, mostly made up of women from Voices from the Factory Floor, has enjoyed our efforts very much. The plays remind them of conversations had with their own mothers, fathers, daughters and friends. One said that we hadn’t needed scripts to read – that we could have just chatted amongst ourselves on stage – and there I see the compliment, our work was natural, candid observation with each of us adding our own personalities and quirks to tell tales. Not perfect but gentle, the work of women who have been there.

I am not alone in being relieved yet ecstatic as the event closes but oh so sorry that this series of workshops is not continuing and that we are left to go our own ways with our words.

The project  was supported by Age Cymru’s Gwanwyn Festival which is funded by Welsh Government and Arts Council of Wales, WI in Wales and Women’s Archive of Wales

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http://gwanwyn.org.uk

http://gwanwyn.org.uk/events/making-it-free-drama-scripting-workshop-for-older-women/

http://gwanwyn.org.uk/events/parama2-presents-making-it/

Review Devine Intervention Martha Brockenbrough by Sian Thomas

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There are a number of ways to describe Devine Intervention by Martha Brockenbrough. I think odd is good, and hilarious, and different! Different is a great one. It’s not every day your female protagonist becomes a dog, which is, I suppose, the simplest (and best) way to explain the situation.

It’s wonderfully intertwined (and thinking about it, The Game Of Love And Death by the same author was also wonderfully intertwined. Maybe it’s a theme? Either way, it’s something I adore). The writing is fun, deep, relatable, meaningful. The writing alone is an abundance of amazing things.

The story was a thrill to experience, while also dually being funny and even a little sad (maybe bittersweet, too, is a good word to describe it). Towards the end of the book (spoilers!) we see our first main character, Jerome, be reborn after his trials and tribulations of protecting our other main character, Heidi (the girl who kind of turned into a dog). I’ve always loved the idea of reincarnation/being reborn as a story idea, and this played perfectly into my open, excited hands.

This is, hands down, a great book, with a riveting story, fantastic characters, and amazing jokes. I loved every line.

Review Film and Comic Con, Cardiff by James Briggs

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Every year the Cardiff International Arena changes from a concert venue to a top convention hall crammed with swarms of TV and Film fans attending the Film and Comic Con, Cardiff. Converging on the centre of Cardiff is an assorted crew of Sherlock’s with Deerstalkers, Marvel and DC superheroes, Disney princesses, Imperial Storm troopers following Darth Vader and assorted geeks decked out in shirts of their favourite shows. There was even an appearance from the Mystery Incorporated gang and their Mystery Machine featuring Scooby Doo.

Cc3S4fcWAAIsPL1.jpg-largeWhen visiting Comic Con you come to realise that Cosplaying has become a central part in the overall experience. The near-compulsory cosplay code can mostly mean that if you choose not to dress up you can stand out more than someone wearing the costumes. Many celebrities often use this to their advantage by dressing up in a costume of their choice and walking the floors of the Comic Con without being noticed.

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Angela Landsbury portrays Jessica Fletcher in MURDER SHE WROTE: SOUTH BY SOUTWEST.

From panels on Doctor Who and Cosplay showcases, to Thunderbird action figures, the comic con welcomes with open arms that which the rest of the world might think a little bizarre. The hall is crammed packed with stall after stall of different shops selling all sorts of collectables. A personal favourite of mine was the autograph section that sold the autographs of every actor or actress you could think of. Everywhere you looked on the autograph stalls there were famous names with Daniel Craig, Ian Mckellen and Benedict Cumberbatch to name but a few. I decided to opt for Angela Lansbury and Jim Dale. Two very big idols of mine.

IMG_0320It never ceases to amaze me with the lengths some people go to create amazingly accurate costumes from famous films, games and television shows. I knew that it was important to participate in this also so my brother and I decided to go as different incarnations of Doctor Who from the hit BBC series. I was dressed as Peter Capaldi with the striking red lined coat and done up shirt button and my brother dressed as his favourite Doctor David Tennant with a Fez added for good measure. One of the star guests at the Comic Con was Jemma Redgrave or as Doctor Who fans may know her Kate Lethbridge Stewart. As her fans gathered to have their photo taken there was an obvious sense of community about the event with many people talking to each other and having photos of their own taken. I even met a fellow incarnation dressed as Matt Smith’s Doctor.

James and Jemma Redgrave

With something for every fan of Film, TV, Gaming and Comic’s there is no reason why you would not want to go and in the words of Shrek “Let your freak flag fly” with pride! Although a word of warning you will most definitely be left with a feeling of wanting to have more money to buy all of the things you see.

The next Comic Con Cardiff will be held on the 29th – 30th of October 2016. Get your tickets now to avoid disappointment. They are available at: http://filmandcomicconcardiff.com/

Review Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas by Sian Thomas

 

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I recently read Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas, and was thoroughly swept away by the books intensity.

The story is about how a group of friends, among them, Anna and Elise, who are two best friends, and Anna’s boyfriend, Tate, go on a week-long trip over spring break. The trip is relaxing, until Elise is found murdered in the house they were staying in. Our story experience is with Anna, who goes through the trials and being held in prison on account of being the prime suspect of the case. I won’t be going into deep detail about the plot, as it is something I could never recreate as skilfully as the author Abigail Hass and also because there are major spoilers and I would hate to ruin the story for anyone who may be interested.

The plot is complicated, yet magnificently executed. It is written in a way that shows you the truth in calculated chunks before the trial so you can pick apart what happened and speculate on the direction you believe you will be led. Some things happen before the trial they are linked with but with two things happening in that scene, one is relevant the next moment, and they still perfectly fit together for you to gain the bigger, complicated picture. Everything is up for questioning, everything about everyone, who could have done it, and why. It is all up for you to wonder about, but you know that you have to keep going. I felt very compelled as I was reading. The book was such a page turner that I took a break for lunch during a revision session, began reading as I ate, and didn’t put the book down until it had ended. It is so enthralling, the way the characters interact and the way the plot unfolds that you can practically feel yourself saying that you have to know what happens. You just have to know…

From our perspective, which is Anna’s perspective, we see as she pleads innocent and goes through, quite literally, the trials and tribulations of the case and the investigation. We root for her, and feel sorry and scared for her. We feel protective of her and even hope she gets a not-guilty verdict. She is a wonderfully complex character with a harrowing story and truly phenomenal portrayal.

The writing is amazing. It easily and brilliantly shows the struggles of dealing with a tragedy, but is also unimaginably inciting and exciting. The structure of the novel is wonderful, with flashbacks and far-off memories, the present day, and a ‘three months later’. It is alluring, and keeps you blissfully intrigued as you unwind the story and see it out in front of you.

The book makes you feel a range of emotions, and is especially good at making you feel intense, but hopeful. Scared, but knowing. It’s quite the experience. But it is especially skilled at teaching you not to believe everything you read. There is a twist, a truly unexpected twist, that puts the whole novel in an entirely different light, and leaves you stunned and wanting more. I know that I certainly did.

Links to further information on the author

http://abbymcdonald.com

http://authors.simonandschuster.co.uk/Abigail-Haas/409406742

 

2015 Personal highlights from the Young Critics & 3rd Act Critics

 

2015 New Year celebration with the date outlined by colourful fiery sparklers on a dark New Year's Eve night

 

Members of the Young Critics and 3rd Act Critics have selected their own personal highlights of 2015. Their first choice is that a cultural event they have reviewed or attended. Their second is something they have personally experienced which has resonance for them as an individual.

 Young Critic Lois Arcari

2015 is, like all other years, impossible to forget for many reasons. One such reason was an amazing blur, both individually and for the Young Critics as a whole – the celebration of Welsh talent and its abilities at the annual BAFTA Cymru awards. For a review and as a day, what was daunting turned easily to something wonderful, truly hopeful and encouraging for a defiantly blossoming industry in the face of cuts to the arts and critics of its worth. An event that continues developing to give Wales international renown. This day was both an honour, and a joy to be part of.

https://theyoungcritics.wordpress.com/2015/09/30/bafta-cymru-awards-2015-by-lois-arcari/

My personal pick of this year is something as much as a cultural event, platform for debate, national icon and builder of careers and friendships alike as it is a show – the incomparable Doctor Who. In light of criticisms thrown at showrunner Steven Moffat for a number of years now, this season has episodes widely regarded as some of the most experimental, diverse and emotional at least post revival. Whilst I was worried at the apparent superficiality of this choice – Doctor Who is iconic for a reason. Not least this past season because of the sensational acting masterclass in acting from Peter Capaldi, and Jeanna Coleman. Coleman has laid claim to being a divisive character, but personally I think her performance is one of the most raw, layered and deftly handled in the show’s history, especially when coupled with Moffat’s no holds barred approach. Though missteps were made, they were made in interesting ways. The Doctor, expertly handled, has always been a personal character – an icon of unflinching hope and possibility that even helped through uncertainty and anxieties through eager viewing last year following a serious car accident. Seeing the characters, writing and ambition grow in tandem has been moving and joyous, and the many layers encouraging fans to analyse, speculate, and always, always hope. As the show-runners (as a brilliant personal meeting at the aforementioned BAFTA Cymru awards with Russel T Davies showed) did with the same love.

 

3rd Act Critic Barbara Michaels

My first choice would have to be Mack and Mabel at WMC. The production was brilliant on all fronts, Barbara reviewed this production for The Reviews Hub

Mack and Mabel – Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff

Secondly my personal choice is Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake with male dancers as the swans.  A new take in one of the most popular classical ballets and spine tingling.

 

Young Critic James Briggs

For my choice of 2015 I would like to say Jersey Boys at the Wales Millennium Centre because this was the first production that I reviewed for Young Critics and so if I had not chosen to attend that show I would not have been so involved with Young Critics this year.

Review Jersey Boys, WMC by James Briggs

For my second choice of 2015 I would like to say the Doctor Who Symphonic Spectacular that was at Cardiff Motorpoint Arena back in May this year.

This is a review by Wales Online about the show

http://www.walesonline.co.uk/whats-on/music-nightlife-news/doctor-who-symphonic-spectacular-shows-9328752.

 

Young Critic Kiera Sikora

I would definitely say my favourite production which I reviewed in 2015 was Alix in Wundergarten- Difficult Stage/Other Room

https://theyoungcritics.wordpress.com/2015/12/05/review-alix-in-wundergarten-the-other-room-by-kiera-sikora/

My second choice would be A Doll’s House- Sherman Cymru a relevant retelling of a theatrical classic!

 

Young Critic Amina Ali

My first choice would be the TV series Agent Carter

https://theyoungcritics.wordpress.com/?s=Agent+Carter+&submit=Search

My second choice would be the Black Lives matter movement. I feel it’s important because as a black person the miscarriages of justice are almost personal. It is important to know that there are people standing up for people like me.

http://blacklivesmatter.com/about/

Young Critic Sian Thomas

My first choice would be the book Unspeakable by Abbie Rushton, I feel I wrote my review well and there was to my surprise online interaction with the author and her publisher on Twitter. I know someone also bought it as a consequence of my review which I thought was amazing!

https://theyoungcritics.wordpress.com/2015/08/15/review-unspeakable-abbie-rushton-by-sian-thomas/

 

My second would be the release of the World of Professor Layton which is a big art book about my favourite ever game that came out around November 5th and I really enjoyed and felt the closure of the series ending personally.

 

Young Critic Bethan Hooton

My number one event of the year would have to be the One Direction concert – seeing your favourite band live is something you will never forget!

https://theyoungcritics.wordpress.com/2015/06/26/review-one-direction-cardiff-millennium-stadium-by-bethan-hooton/

My second choice would be getting my GCSE results – 2 Cs, 7Bs, A, A* . I was so proud of myself for these grades, and I got into college with them to study subjects that I now really enjoy and love.

 

We are all looking forward to what 2016 will bring!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review The Game Of Love And Death, Martha Brockenbrough by Sian Thomas

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Upon reading The Game Of Love And Death by Martha Brockenbrough,  I dare say I’ve found my new favourite book! My previous one had been The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke, which still holds a very special place in my heart, however I was barely ten chapters into The Game Of Love And Death when I realised I loved it just as much, and very, very possibly, more.

It is a story in which Love and Death, personified as people (who can also transform into other disguises and animals) choose two people for their “game”. It is somewhat reminiscent of The Book Of Life, however is much more intriguing. It begins in 1920, and takes place properly throughout 1937. Death, back in 1920, chose Flora as their player, while Love chose Henry as their player. The game is that Flora and Henry have to fall in love before a certain date (July 7th). They must “have courage and choose each other above all else”, and if they do that, Love’s prize is that they can live on, while Death’s is that they will claim the life of their player.

I have never read a book before where the characters have been filled with so much emotion and charm that I had to stop and take a breather. I have never quite experienced how passionate and loving a person could get like I have reading this book. The way a character would babble and sputter, or just think. I have never felt my heart swell through the written word like I have reading this book.

Henry, seeing as he was chosen by Love, is a character filled to the very brim with passion and appreciation and love. I have never seen anything even remotely akin to it before. He is poetic in a way that I find hard to describe, but it is such a beautiful and ethereal way that I wouldn’t want to tarnish it by trying. The way he moves, and talks, and even thinks is just so perfectly flowing to me, and it all falls right into place, comfortable and sound. As a person who is big on reading, and writing, and imagining, I have never ever come across a character quite like this in anything before. Flora, because she was chosen by Death, is much more realistic and grounded, but this also comes from dealing with many social issues around the time. She has a much more guarded heart, but it is filled with just as much passion as Henry’s. While Henry loves music, Flora loves fixing planes and flying them. They are hardly similar, but you, as I certainly did, still wholeheartedly vouch for them.

Since it is set in 1937 in Seattle, there are a lot of historical references and racial tension, which definitely plays into the importance of The Game, and the story as a whole. Flora is a person of colour, while Henry is white. The odds, in terms of this fact, seem to be against them if they are to win for Love. But who can say what the outcome is? Their different skin colours at the time period prove quite the challenge to overcome, and it is hard to watch them go through it. It is hard to see two characters you love so dearly be so harshly separated by something that shouldn’t be an obstacle at all.

The story is intense, and there is always something happening. It’s the kind of story you wish you could reach into and move the characters around so everything will end happily. The story draws you in from the very, very first word until the last, and it is exceedingly difficult to tear yourself away from the pages. There is so much to feel as you read it, so much worry and exhilaration, so much love and hope. It’s a miracle my own heart didn’t beat right out of my chest as I read it.

The writing is stunning. It’s beautiful, poetic, and portrays such clear, vivid images in the reader’s mind, so they feel like they are right there as part of the story. I always prefer finding writing that is nice, and makes me feel something in my gut, and I found just that in this book. I really love, among all the books out there, when I find one with the perfect style of writing that makes me wish I could do something as amazing as that. I am drawn to pretty words and intricate stories, and upon finding one, I know I’ll never really let it go, and this is how I feel about The Game Of Love And Death. With all the literature out there, I feel so fortunate to have found a book like this, and I don’t think it will be an action I will ever be able to repeat.

I am rather melancholic over the whole story. With the racism and the pressing view that someday, good things come to an end, living things will die, things will go wrong – Someday, someday, someday – it feels heavy, and sorrowful, but there is always another side to the coin, a shinier side, one that feels much more joyful. Love exists because death exists, and you shouldn’t be afraid of someday. If you constantly worry over the end, you’ll never experience the middle, and what happiness the middle could bring you. You shouldn’t be afraid to love.

I would recommend this book to anyone. It is such a thrilling read, and such a heartfelt one, that I’m sure anyone would enjoy it. It was the most beautiful book I have ever read, and it will linger in the back of my mind for a very long time.

 

Review All Quiet On The Western Front, Enrich Maria Remarque by Sian Thomas

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A friend recently told me to read one of their favourite books. I was looking for a new read and decided that I, even though I am not much of a fan of war stories, I would finally let myself be swayed and give the book and the topic a chance from their recommendation.
I read All Quiet On The Western Front by Enrich Maria Remarque recently. It was rather renovating and is the beginning of a change in my perspective I am glad to note.
I loved the writing  it was  vague and descriptive yet soft but heart wrenching. The kind, I think, that could probably only be found in a war story. I’ve always loved finding writing that is somewhat poetic, and sounds like someone stitched all the letters and words together carefully, with an unwavering hand – I really love finding that, among the world of literature – and that I found. The kind of writing that makes you double back and think, the kind that really makes you realise how deep things are.
The characters are a breath of fresh air, and they’re all so human in situation where you are glad to find it so. They all still joke and laugh against all of the odds. They were all friends in the most unfortunate of situations, and could smile after being dragged through the worst anyone could imagine. And you even see the other side of the coin – the gut wrenching fear, the depression, the melancholy. You worry for them, you hope someone survives.
The whole story is written in the perspective from one German soldier, Paul Bäumer, and his story stirs around with his classmates that were forced to enlist with him because of a pushy teacher. The lot of them go through Hell on Earth, but still manage to have, somehow, good things happen to them. There are six characters we focus on mainly, Kemmerich (we don’t focus on him for very long as he died early on), Haie, Albert, Müller, Kat, Paul Bäumer, and Tjaden. They all have their own tragic fates, just as you were beginning to believe that they would make it and we would hear of their lives afterwards. Each death or goodbye is heartbreaking and alarmingly real, and comes as an abrupt shock, though it really shouldn’t when you really think about it. They are all they’re own people, and the change from someone in school to fighting for Germany is astonishing, since you can see how they change, how they become more hardened and more serious, and more sad, more gloomy. You go through all their trials and tribulations with them, feeling the fear and the happiness and the sorrow.
While this was not my first war story experience, this is the one I enjoyed the most. Even while it was melancholic and nerve wracking, it was a story I’m glad to have experienced, and will heartily thank my friend for telling me about it. It really was a wonderful read.