Written and performed by Carys Eleri (‘Love Goddess’ in English) this one-woman show is like a cross between Fleabag, Eminem and Bonnie Tyler, exploring the science of love in a way that is earthy, informative and Welsh. It’s also very, very funny.
At heart it’s a monologue about the dangers of loneliness, which now has its own page on the NHS website, asking questions like do we have to have lovers we don’t love to fill that void or can friends suffice? Carys takes us through both the science behind why and how we fall in love, and also her own love life, revealing that our brain chemistry has a lot to answer for.
She intersperses the dialogue with unforgettable songs and a pretty good voice, ranging from rap to disco to heavy metal, and it’ll be a long time before I forget ‘Magic Taxi’ or ‘Tit Montage’, her ballad on a drunken lesbian threesome that probably didn’t actually happen.
There is also some audience participation about Tinder, and where we are all offered cocaine, only to discover that for logistical reasons it’s been replaced with chocolate instead. (Although it was very nice chocolate).
Lovecraft is a delightfully bawdy, funny and enlightening show that keeps you laughing throughout. The only thing I could find fault with is that the narrative is a bit all over the place at times, but that’s a minor detail.
Cerys hugged every member of the audience before the show started, and it was so much fun that after it ended, I really wanted to hug her back in gratitude!
I usually like my comedy in darker shades, but if you’re looking for an irreverent comedy that’s packed with positivity and threaded with catchy musical numbers, Lovecraft (not the sex shop in Cardiff) is the perfect night out.
It all hinges on the winning charisma of Carys Eleri – a woman who wins over the audience even before the first word of her show. Introducing everyone with a genuinely warm hug, not even a cynic could be against this show as they wait for it to start. Her spoken comedy is brassy and fizzy. While there are only a few standout jokes once you leave the theatre – never to look at A&E Glangwilly the same again – her general aura of energy and enthusiasm sticks with you.
It truly is ‘something for everyone’ comedy. Using hugs and chocolate, plus general affability, Carys had the audience in the palm of her hand the whole way through. Even better, her broad range of jokes from shitty exes to loneliness and online dating meant everyone could relate to something. My personal favorite came when she described her alternative and decent ex. How he stood out in Camarthen, which ‘breeds rugby players like rabbits.’ He was:
‘‘absolutely not a rugby player. He wore eyeliner!’‘
I’ll always relate to that one!
Her musical numbers show a panache for parody and wordplay. While a few in the first act seemed a bit repetitive, they find their feet as more genre variation comes in. Carys luckily also gets the chance to show off her genuinely fantastic voice as the numbers progress. ‘I Brain you,’ ‘Magic Taxi’ and ‘Rat Park’ get points for the perfect balance of witty and catchy. The animation that accompanied them was basic but effective and had a few moments of great visual humour – like the unicorn’s cigarette horn.
If you’re missing Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and wish that
Rachel Bloom would have swapped some Hollywood malarkey for Valleys realism,
this show is for you. There are a few humourless gripes to be had – the basic
science, the repetition of some musical numbers – but Carys Eleri pulls off her
one woman show with charisma and bellyaching comedy.
My one big gripe was with the central conceit. This was that the neuroscience of love can be replicated with friendship and community.
While it is in itself a positive message, and it’s humbling to know such an extroverted figure as Carys experienced loneliness, it is somewhat accidentally incomplete. In the valleys or anywhere poor and hard to get to, social isolation has been the catalyst for many a horrible relationship. While her takeaway is a great message for people with good friends to stop worrying about romance, many people only do because those friends can be so hard to find.
Still, even when your physical community is desolate or disappointing, millions find community through art. And a happy, slightly tipsy, and adoring community watched Lovecraft (not the sex shop in Cardiff) that night.
Undoubtedly, the BBC series, Yes Minister and its sequel, Yes Prime Minister have provided us with many comic moments and fond memories. To recreate that show on stage, doing justice to those original characters yet producing something fresh is a challenge that is met with panache in this show at Theatr Clwyd. A combination of a great script and excellent delivery make this a thoroughly enjoyable evening’s entertainment.
While the script was at times complex and wordy, it captured the spirit of the original TV programme in a contemporary story that was easily understood and well communicated. It struck a balance between political satire and farce that engaged the audience throughout.
The lead actors were true to the characters portrayed in the original series yet not hidebound by them. In fact, theybrought their own persona and comic touch to bear successfully. Of particular note was Peter Forbes as Sir Humphrey whose handling of complex obfuscating sentences was an exercise in memory and diction that was passed with flying colours. Paul Bradley, who for several years has played in TV series like Eastenders and Holby City was an excellent Jim Hacker, producing a comic performance naturally,combining a shambolic ingénue and streetwise politician well. I particularly liked Sarah Earnshaw as political advisor Claire Sutton, who had a confident, relaxed charm as she outfoxed the seasoned civil servants around her.
This was not a production that had me rolling in the aisles but it will live long in the memory and had many one liners that had the audience chuckling. “We are here to serve the people, not to do what is right!’
I would recommend this play to anyone with a memory of the sitcom or who feels a frustration whenever they listen to those politicians who never know how to answer a straight question. That’s probably most of us then. It serves as a good night out and left me with a warm, feel good factor. A thoroughly worthwhile theatre experience.
Drama gyntaf Mari Izzard, enillydd gwobr Violet Burns, sef gwobr The Other Room i ddramodwyr ifanc yw ‘Hela’. Lleolir The Other Room y tu fewn i dafarn Porters yng nghanol dinas Caerdydd, a rhaid cyfaddef fod y theatr hon yn em fach, gyda’r cwmni’n enwog am ei chynyrchiadau heriol ac arbrofol sy’n eithafu’r defnydd o’r gwagle bychan a hynny mewn amryw arddulliau. Disgwyl yr annisgwyl, dyma ddiben y theatr fach yma, ac nid yw’r ddrama hon yn eithriad.
Mae’n rhan o drioleg o’r enw ‘The
Violence Series’, sef arlwy The Other Room ar gyfer y tymor
hwn. ‘Hela’ yw’r ddrama olaf i’w
llwyfannu yn y gyfres yn dilyn ‘American
Nightmare’ gan Matthew Bulgo a ‘The
Story’ gan Tess Berry-Hart.
Drama llawn cyfrinachau yw ‘Hela’.
Mae’n agor gyda chymeriad Hugh sydd wedi’i glymu a’i gaethiwo mewn ystafell lom,
dywyll. Ei herwgipiwr yw Erin, merch ifanc sy’n ymddangos yn blentynaidd ar yr
wyneb ond sy’n meddu ar dueddiadau seicopathig beryglus. Mae wedi cipio’r gŵr a’i
garcharu yno mewn byncer diflas. Ar y cychwyn, nid ydym yn sicr beth yw ei
chymhelliant ond yn raddol drwy gyfres o gemau plentynaidd a chreulon, mae Hugh
yn cael ei arteithio am resymau penodol.
Set syml ond effeithiol sydd i’r ddrama – un ystafell a drws i fyd
anelwig. Mae Erin yn defnyddio’r allanfa yn achlysurol, sydd yn fodd o newid
tempo’r ddrama drwy fynd a dyfod gydag offer arteithiol gwahanol. Er llymder yr
ystafell, mae technoleg yn amlwg yn rheoli yn y byd dystopaidd hwn. Mae amryw
sgriniau yn chwarae rôl y trydydd cymeriad, sef ‘M’, sy’n rhoi’r wybodaeth
ychwanegol i ni ynghylch dwyster y sefyllfa.
Mae’n amlwg fod gan y cymeriadau gefndiroedd cymhleth – Hugh wedi
cael magwraeth anodd ac yn rhan o gylch ‘grwmio’ plant, ac Erin yn hiraethu ar
ôl diflaniad ei phlentyn saith mlwydd oed. Daw’r thema o hela felly yn
glir i ni’r gynulleidfa. Mae yntau wedi hela Gethin, mab saith mlwydd oed Erin,
sydd nawr yn dod wyneb yn wyneb â realiti erchyll y sefyllfa.
Roedd y rhyngweithio rhwng y ddau actor, Lowri Izzard a Gwydion
Rhys, yn argyhoeddi, gyda sawl eiliad o densiwn anghyfforddus. Wrth i’r stori
ddatblygu, cawn ddiweddglo arswydus a threisgar gydag Erin yn dial.
Drama ddwyieithog yw hon gydag Erin yn siarad Cymraeg a Hugh yn
deall ond ychydig o’r iaith. Serch hynny, mae yntau fel ni’r gynulleidfa
yn medru gweld y cyfieithu yn digwydd ar y pryd ar y sgrîn
drwy gydol y ddrama. Er bod hyn yn gyfrwng diddorol sydd wedi digwydd mewn
amryw gynhyrchiad arall eisoes, efallai bod sylw gormodol i’r cyfieithu ar
brydiau. Efallai byddai llai o esbonio yn fwy heriol ac awgrymog ar adegau er
mwyn dyfnhau’r thema.
Gosodwyd y ddrama mewn cyfnod dystopaidd, anrhefnus gydag Erin nid
yn unig yn dioddef colled ei mab ond hefyd colled enbyd ei hiaith a’i
threftadaeth. Nid thema newydd yw hon wrth gwrs, gan ein bod ar hyn o
bryd yn byw mewn byd cyfryngol ac ieithyddol peryglus.
Hoffais y deunydd o sain drwyddi draw a oedd yn creu awyrgylch annymunol
a pheryglus yn ogystal â’r goleuo pŵl. Er bod hon yn ddrama anodd ei gwylio ar
adegau, mae’n llwyddo i hoelio sylw’r gynulleidfa o’r dechrau i’r diwedd.
Os gewch gyfle, ewch draw i weld ‘Hela’ yn The Other Room, ond os na chewch gyfle y tro hwn, bydd y
drioleg yn mynd ar daith yn y Gwanwyn.
A tale as old as time, Some Like It Hip Hop by Zoonation is a story about mistaken identity, crossed wires, love, loss and family. Taking themes from Billy Wilder’s Some Like It Hot and Shakespeare’s, Twelfth Night, this story is not like any other – of course, it has Zoonation’s comical, emotional and energetic style.
Verging on a cross between Street/Hip Hop dance and physical theatre, this piece sees little vocal additions to the performance except for a narrator. Emotions, actions and events are all played out physically, and this in itself is well formed, slick and smooth. The physicality looks so easy, so gentle but any one who has previously danced knows the extreme energy, the muscle and the technicality that goes into even the smallest of moves.
The character’s all do a great job of bringing the feelings into their general persona – this being reflected in their facial expressions, in every movement and the whole performance is well polished.
While I did enjoy this, and it arose a sense of longing for the days where I danced like this, it wasn’t my favourite of all the Zoonation productions I have seen. There is an essence of a similar theme with their storytelling – mostly always with a narrator, the character’s being quite stereotyped e.g. the nerdy guy who incidentally was the same nerdy guy in their Alice and Wonderland piece and it feels a little predictable when you have seen them a few times previously.
None the less, Zoonation’s pieces are always entertaining, fun, astonishing with skill and a definite good night out. If you like a little boogie after at your seats, or being very involved vocally throughout, then this is for you.
Set in the isolated mountains, this small cast encounter the almost apocalyptic world of a small rural town in Wales. Where everyone has left due to violence and lack of supplies, John Daniel (Rhys Ifans) and Noni (Rakie Ayola) endeavour to stay put, with their memories and their lost lives.
On Bear Ridge is a simple play, full of dialogue and not much need for anything else. There are some theatrical tricks implemented to add to the on-stage feel, and give it that National Theatre Wales (NTW) and Royal Court feel, but the main magic comes from the detailed narrative and fantastic acting.
As expected, Ifans is brilliant. With this being my second time seeing him on stage, I can already see complete differences from his role on the National Theatre Stage as a dying King, to this countryside man who is slowly losing everything. The accents are of course different, but how he holds himself, his emotions and the pure comedy he effortlessly eludes are different and brilliant. With such a big name in a production there’s more to draw upon and compare to other work, but along with the other actors, they all gel and bounce off one another effortlessly and triumphantly – creating an overall equal success on stage.
Ayola’s character fits perfectly with Ifans’s. They work well together and make the characters fit like puzzle pieces. While this feels slightly science-fiction as a narrative, yet also possible in our world, their relationship is very real, very loving and it’s clear that their character’s are meant to be as one.
On Bear Ridge is emotional, heartbreaking, wonderful and hilarious. A world that could easily be imagined, could easily be reality, we feel a part of a small family, and feel every bit of grief, every bit of happiness and every bit of love that these characters exude.
Welsh company Theatr na nÓg continue to innovate and increase awareness of Welsh Theatre! The company have just announced that they will present their original play “You Should Ask Wallace” in Indonesia.
The play tells the inspiring story of Alfred Russel Wallace, who was born in Usk and who left Wales in 1854 to document the diverse fauna, flora of the area in Indonesia now known as the Wallacea Region.
The British Council has invited the award-winning Theatr na nÓg to take part in the Festival of Inspiration, Education and the Arts to celebrate the diversity of the Wallacea region. The Festival will be held in Makassar from the 22nd -28th of November 2019.
We asked the companies Artistic Director, Geinor Styles about the relevance of the work of Wallace today.
With the Welsh Government recently declaring a Climate Emergency the themes of this production seem especially relevant. What do your think Wallace might make of our Climate Emergency and organisations such as Extinct Rebellion if he was alive today?
“I think he would definitely be part of Extinction Rebellion.
He was extremely aware of the impact man had on the environment, he certainly didn’t forsee the crisis we are in now. During the Industrial Revolution he was working in Neath as a surveyor for the railways , and although he had a love for nature and in particular beetles he was conscious of the fact that “I was cutting up the land and beneath me a whole new universe teeming with life”.
Also whilst in Indonesia he explains that when he first discovered the King Bird of Paradise he describes it’s fate as “should man ever reach these distant lands, we can be sure that he will disturb the balance of nature so that he will cause the disappearance, and finally extinction, of this creature.”
Paul Smith, Director of The British Council in Indonesia explained how delighted they are about the collaboration, “Here in Indonesia we are thrilled that the Welsh Wallace is returning to the Archipelago. In our Wallace Week in Sulawesi we are not just exploring biodiversity but also the cultural and ethnic diversities that Wallace encountered. Theatr na nÓg’s production will contribute greatly to the understanding and inspiration of young audiences along The Wallacea Line and we are thrilled that the company will transfer the production to local performers to ensure its own ‘sustainability’ here.
Each year Theatr na nÓg create original productions for over 5,000 young people which integrate live theatre performance with innovative creative learning resources. The organisation will be sharing their successful model of presenting theatre and education in workshops and symposiums in Makassar. The company is grateful to Wales Arts International and British Council Cymru for supporting this exciting opportunity.
Theatr na nÓg’s Artistic Director Geinor Styles said :- “It is an incredible opportunity for us to tell the Welsh story of Wallace to an area that celebrates and recognises this often forgotten scientist who co-discovered the theory of evolution with Charles Darwin, and to be here in the place where Wallace wrote the theory is inspirational.”
Styles together with actor Ioan Hefin, who originated the role of Alfred Russel Wallace, will not only perform the original play but will subsequently work with Indonesian actors and director to enable them to formulate their own version of the drama which they can continue to present to local audiences. “Our first performance of ‘You Should ask Wallace’ was in 2008. At the time I thought we were revisiting an important but forgotten historical figure. I now realise that ARW is very much a voice for today and tomorrow. He was, and still is, a visionary influence”
This terrific opportunity tops a great year for this small Neath based company where they started the year with another British Council invitation to present their hit musical “Eye of the Storm” in Hong Kong and which has just completed a UK tour captivating audiences and receiving rave reviews.
The poster warns us that this is not a pantomime – indeed, an increasingly irritated Captain Hook (Connor Crawford, in one of three excellent performances) reminds us of that fact, even as we the audience gamely reply ‘OH, YES IT IS!’ – but there’s enough magic, musical numbers and mishaps to be considered one. The comedy starts even before the curtain rises, from the hilarious programme (including an in memoriam section for Nadia the crocodile) to the bored-looking stagehands roping in audience members and fusing the whole theatre trying to light a few tiny lamps. The gang have crafted something of a stage-bound MCU – a Mischief Theatrical Universe, if you will – in which their hapless cast and crew from “Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society” slowly descend into chaos and madness: their inventory of onstage oopsies include malfunctioning tech, sets on the verge of collapse and all manner of bungled staging, line deliveries and prop mishaps – and it’s a deceitfully clever, canny formula that runs like clockwork.
The whole cast is an incredible, fine-tuned machine of mischief and they all work so hard – though perhaps none so toilsomely as thespian troupers Oliver Senton and Phoebe Ellabani. Senton plays the over-enthusiastic AD, Nana the Dog, and a particularly unintelligible pirate who sounds like those blokes from Hot Fuzz – but perhaps his best moments come when he inhabits – nay embodies – the role of Peter’s Shadow, which is worth seeing the show for alone. Ellabani has maybe the most divergent set of roles, impressively swapping between the genteel Mrs Darling and family maid Lisa in seconds – not to mention pulling double (quadruple?) duty as Tiger Lily and a fabulously chaotic Tinkerbell. Senton and Ellabani also share perhaps my favourite scene: the one where Senton-as-Nana gets stuck in a door, and Ellabani-as-Mrs-Darling attempts to sing a moving lullaby as the technical team bring out a workshop-worth of noisy power tools to drill him out. You have got to see it for yourselves.
This is the kind of show which wouldn’t work if there was even a single weak link, and everyone in the cast is simply brilliant. One of the standouts is Tom Babbage as Max, a lovelorn actor who was only cast because his rich uncle funded the hapless production (revealed by the malfunctioning sound system). Babbage brings an Andrew Garfield adorkableness to the role, sweet and so sympathetic that he had the entire audience on-side and cheering for him to succeed (his triumphant crocodile dance is perhaps the cutest thing these eyes have ever seen). His unrequited (or is it?) love for Sandra is one of the loveliest aspects of the show, and, as the dance-loving Wendy Darling, Katy Daghorn brings the kind of delightful exuberance only generally found in the end of term school production.
Ciaran Kellgren as Jonathan aka a deliciously smarmy Peter Pan in whose flying sequences gets swung about more ferociously than Miley Cyrus on a wrecking ball. Even Ethan Moorhouse’s stolid stagehand Trevor gets roped in (and strung up – literally and figuratively) when the chaos starts taking out cast members, including the timorous Lucy aka Tootles (Georgia Bradley), one of the many victims of the structurally-unsound set. Romayne Andrews as John Darling gives a gloriously stilted performance as an actor so apathetic his lines – not to mention Classic FM and the shipping forecast – are being fed to him through anachronistic headphones. His line deliveries are an utter joy – matched only by the delectably dramatic narration of Patrick Warner as Francis, the ill-fated master of ceremonies who punctuates his tale by throwing glitter and growing increasingly afraid of his seemingly-possessed chair. Connor Crawford is particularly great as Captain Hook (and he’s clearly enjoying his stylish pirate costume – the way that coat moves!) but as Mr Darling he delivers a perfect homage to Gene Wilder in Young Frankenstein (you’ll know it when you see it).
The revolving set is spectacular – split into three segments that artfully represent numerous locations including the Darling nursery, Hook’s pirate ship, Pan’s woodland hideout, a moonlit London skyline and more, it’s a gorgeous feat of ingenuity that even a tide of technical issues can’t hide. Although it’s not a musical it still boasts some brilliant musical numbers like a rousing sea shanty on the Jolly Roger and a poppy group number about imaginary feasts. There’s also a truly visually striking scene in which Peter and Wendy go for a swim in the Neverland lagoon, and the set transforms into a spectacular evocation of the ocean depths in which neon sea-creatures frolic and glide. They still manage to wring out its comic potential (not least a lights-up reveal as to how they achieved said effect), but it doesn’t dull the polish of the scene’s creative beauty.
Mischief Theatre’s marvellous modus operandi is fast becoming as beloved as theatre tropes and
traditions on which it gleefully riffs. Peter Pan is a story so familiar to us
that we know the plot beats, the characters and the lines even as the production
falls apart at the seams – and there is joy to be had in watching people desperately
striving to remain sane while the world collapses around them. It takes pinpoint
precision to look this imprecise, and Mischief Theatre have got it down to a
fine art. It’s a show for people who adore theatre and even those who aren’t so
keen – because every tradition, trope and trapping is lovingly ribbed in that creative,
entertaining and endearing way that Mischief does so well. I was lucky enough
to see this production with my grandpa, who dubbed the show ‘the best theatre
experience I’ve ever had’. It’s a show you shouldn’t miss and won’t forget.
Reminiscence is a tricky thing. It can border
on the nostalgic if you’re not careful.
factory workers faced a lot of tough times and made a lot of tough decisions.
But they laughed a lot too. They made life long friends. They forced some
change. They probably sang a fair bit along the way as well.
like a sing song, I’m very fond of a musical and I like a good story. I like
characters I recognise and a history I know just enough about to give that
Clearly, I am not alone. A whole audience agrees with me for sure. What a glorious romp! Parama 2 gives us an all singing, all dancing romp of a performance with every body on that stage playing to her natural strengths effortlessly and with joy.
witty pithy solos and duets with heart, a heart ripping trio trips us towards
the end of an excellent saga.
love it. I am watching everyone around me, sitting around candle lit, cloth
covered club tables laughing, listening and sad for times past and people too.
Touched by the factory workers, wondering how much has really changed and what
this future holds. No woman is an island.
am sitting with Olwen’s daughter, ‘that’s my mum, the one in the silly skirt’
and when she sings her ballad, we are both a little moved, a little teary.
It would be impossible to single any one actor
out for particular accolade – each song matched their style, each scene matched
their character, each laugh and each sigh was earned.
join this troupe, this band of friends, at their reunion and prepare to tap
your toes and reminisce and glimpse behind the aprons of our past.
Hi Sam great to meet you, can you give our readers some background information on yourself please?
I am a 15-year-old who is very interested in the technical side of theatre. I do a lot in the hall which is closest to me which is Neuadd Dyfi in Aberdyfi . I help out with all types of events that happen in the hall from small touring shows, dance and talent shows to our local pantomime.
So what got you interested in the arts?
It all started when I moved down here at the age of 7, my mum became involved with Aberdyfi Players the 1st year we moved down here.
I was pretty much dragged along to watch the performance of their yearly pantomime. From the moment I walked into the hall I wanted to know how to work the lighting. Most children at that age wouldn’t have continued to think about it but after talking to mum she introduced me to Des George who runs the hall and he fuelled my interest even more. I didn’t join Aberdyfi Players straight away but it wasn’t long as I was inching to get involved with the tech side with Des’s knowledge, help and experience it has got me to where I am today.
Congratulations on your nomination for Young Person of the Year in the National Rural Touring Awards 2019.The awards recognise the valuable work of productions, venues, promoters, schemes, and staff in the rural touring sector. What is your role at Neuadd Dyfi?
Good question, I don’t feel I really have one specific role at the Neuadd, I try my best to help with as many things as I can. Obviously my main interest is lighting and sound which I help all the touring companies or events which come into the hall with.
Get the Chance works to support a diverse range of members of the public to access cultural provision Are you aware of any barriers to accessing high quality productions for audiences at Neuadd Dyfi?
I would have to say it would be the size of our auditorium, we have had half of the hall levelled out, but we would like it to all be retractable seating. If we did have retractable seating installed it would open up so many more opportunities.
If you were able to fund an area of the arts what would this be and why?
I have to say it is difficult to choose one area to fund, it would have to be backstage in general. From props to tech
What excites you about the arts ?
The fact that everyone comes together to form one big team and works together to create one big show. Everyone has their own part from technical to costume to performing.
What was the last really great live performance you experienced that you would like to share with our readers?
It would have to be ‘I Ain’t Afraid of No Ghost’ by Little Earthquake. By far one of the most mind twisting shows I have ever watched, if you get the chance ( no pun intended) to go and watch it please do. The meaning behind it is amazing but that’s all I can say about it.