What’s the worst thing that could happen on Press Night?
Except a huge accident that is.
A fire alarm.
Unfortunately our trip In The Woods became interrupted by an non-scheduled fire alarm followed by an evacuation. Although, the excitement of this did not deter us from the great performance.
In The Woods by Robert Alan Evans, is a production featuring little characters, but great impact all the same. An old woman in the woods rescues a boy, and we see her fight all her demons, her past and her future; a unusual and mysterious World where she is always haunted.
In The Woods is as abstract as it comes – The old woman, played by Lesley Sharp, known for a lot of British TV, Film and Theatre such as Doctor Who and The Full Monty to name but a few, creates this feeble and weak character, switching from deep southern to quintessentially British as she changes from her ‘played’ character, to her real character – which in itself is very clever and awe inspiring at her seamlessness . She creates a real epitome of showing mental health as she fights her demons, shown in the form of different, volatile characters, played by Tom Mothersdale.
Mothersdale is comical but also extremely frightening but it can also be commended that he is able to change to a range of characters, maybe 5, only with the use of minimal prop and costume change. From his exit as one to his entrance as another, he defines his ‘new’ character in physicality, vocally and with the general atmosphere. I feel that he really did steal the show, while Sharp is also fantastic.
An interruption such as the fire evacuation shows the true talent of a performer – while they continued slightly, their pause during the announcement showed them to still be enveloped in the performance, almost ready to go again. Coming back, it was if no time had passed, as we still felt the uneasy chill and emotional turmoil in the air.
My only qualm with In The Woods was the break of scenes – I now feel like I see this a lot from the Royal Court – Black out followed by a drowning of soundscape. And while this is effective, I feel like now it is expected and a general ‘theme’ of productions at the RC.
Overall, In The Woods is well worth a watch, if not for the interesting writing but also for Sharp performing in person and the phenomenal performance by Mothersdale.
Philip Ridley’s acclaimed one-act 2000 play, “Vincent River” tells the story of a mother whose son Vincent has been murdered in a homophobic attack. In the aftermath, she learns about her son’s homosexuality.
“Vincent River” stars Victoria Pugh (Hidden – BBC One, Rownd a Rownd – S4C) and Aly Cruickshank (Five Green Bottles for Spilt Milk Theatre and Cardiff Fringe Theatre Festival).
It i directed by Luke Hereford (Sherman Theatre Director’s Programme).
I posed the following questions to Luke ahead of the performances next week in Cardiff.
Q1. What drew you to Directing “Vincent River”?
Philip Ridley is a writer who is instrumental to the shape of contemporary theatre, and played a huge part in making theatre available and accessible for a number of new audiences by addressing some often controversial issues that a staggeringly large number of audiences can directly relate to. Vincent River is one of those plays. Like lots of Phil’s plays, it puts taboo opinions and subject front and centre, and demands the audience to sit up and listen, through the means of darkly beautiful poetry. That is everything I look for in theatre.
Q2. The play is set by writer Philip Ridley in Dagenham, an area of longstanding homophobic prejudice. Do you retain the location or do you change it to Cardiff?
We have been lucky enough to have Philip Ridley’s direct support of our production. He actually suggested changing the location to Cardiff. He said he thinks it’s important to remind audiences that the events of this play aren’t exclusive to London, so we’ve decided to relocate it. We also think that there’s something especially chilling, for Welsh audiences, about hearing street names and locations that they recognise.
Q3. Coming out of Q2, due you think there is a homophobic problem in Cardiff above the average, and is enough being done to combat this?
I don’t know if it’s Cardiff-specific, but in the last few years, I have found in my personal life the occasional comment or word in public situations aimed at me – particularly if I am with my partner – that I haven’t encountered, probably since I was in High School. It’s not that I feel unsafe, but I think there is less encouragement – due to certain world leaders – to be accepting of everyone. In terms of combating it, I’d like to think that by making people aware of such casual marginalisation, and where it has the potential to lead, the play might help to at least continue conversations about modern day homophobia and prejudice.
Q4. What difficulties did you encounter when producing this play?
We are uncovering a lot of themes that we hadn’t anticipated might be present, which is a gift more than anything; there is a delicate balance in terms of being aware of when to draw out the right themes, but we have been very gifted with our actors. Victoria Pugh and Aly Cruickshank are just a joy. They are intelligent and instinctive, and are vivid storytellers, which is exactly what this play requires. I feel so privileged to be working with them.
Q5. Philip Ridley is a pioneer of “In-yer-face” theatre, which emerged in British theatre in the 1990’s. “Vincent River” being first performed in 2000 to critical success. Do you think that this “brand” of theatre is as vital twenty years on, and how do you think our next Brit-style theatre will develop out of it? Or will it go in a different direction?
I think it’s clear that the shock factor of In-Yer-Face theatre has certainly subdued, but actually, it makes these sorts of plays pertinent in a very different way. I saw Shopping and F***ing at Lyric Hammersmith, just two years ago; it’s a play with themes of prostitution, sexual abuse, drug use, consumerism – to name a few – and seeing it in the age of Amazon and Netflix, when everything is instantaneous and transactional, the play had a very different feel to what I imagine people who saw it at the Royal Court in the late 1990s would have felt*. Something like Vincent River continues to remain pertinent, because fundamentally it’s about hate. Sadly, for that reason, I imagine there will always be a level of relevance within the play, and right now it feels particularly urgent.
*I saw this production, as I did Sarah Kane’s “Blasted” in its first week and they certainly left a massive impression on me.
Q6. Jacob’s Market in Cardiff, the venue of your production, is an unusual choice. Is there any reason for this?
Well, we wanted somewhere that was almost site-specific. I originally viewed to perform it in a living room, or someone’s basement, and then I found the Basement in Jacob’s sort of by accident. It instantly felt like the kind of space that Philip Ridley would write, and it all slotted together perfectly. You really have to see the space to know what I mean!
Clearly, “Vincent River” is as important a play now as it was nearly 20 year ago, and the promise of an interesting pace to view it, makes it even more appealing.
Jacobs Antique Market is located in West Canal Wharf, a few minutes stroll from Cardiff Central Railway Station.
A note on Joon Dance’s Tongues: This performance was shown as work in progress, the result of a period of research and development. It is a collaboration between Joon Dance, spoken word artist Rufus Mufas and young people in the community.
Tongues is coming in on a swell of excellent work for and with young people in Wales. Theatre Iolo’s excellent Platfform initiative is nurturing artists to make engaging, demanding work for and with young people, such as Tin Shed Theatre’s Boxes and 2016 by Paul Jenkins and Tracey Harris. Even National Theatre Wales is getting in on the act with We’re Still Here making great use of a community cast, including several young people, given strong moments within professional production to connect with an audience and have their voices hear. The UK as a whole is really seeing a shift in how we make and present work for young audiences, with growing recognition that they deserve as dynamic and diverse program of work as older audiences, and that by nurturing the next generation of young creatives we can ensure this program of work continues to be made in the future.
Billed as “A public performance on the Friday at 6.30pm to showcase the piece of work developed through the week.” Tongues was the culmination of a week’s work with young people from the community around Chapter, for them to,
“Find your voice this summer with TONGUES. Ever wanted to speak out about what’s important to you? Like dancing or interested in performing? Together we will create a dance and spoken-word performance unique to you and your community.”
Its ambition is to fit neatly in to this growing landscape of diverse, young people led work. I feel this is important. Tongues is big ideas and big promises.
Tongues also opens with a promise to the audience. Well. A promise and a provocation. Upon being seated we are asked what “Canton is”. Our answers are written down and posted on the wall at the back. All the while bodies slowly writhe on stage like pupae waiting for the performance to begin. Before the show starts we are told our voices matter, that we are as much a part of this as the performers.
Tongues is ultimately a promise to give voice to its young people and its audience.
It’s a promise it breaks.
The performance, to be absurdly reductive, consisted of three halves (try working that one out, ha!). Live dance, spoken word and live sound mixing using audio captured from around Canton.
The opening number involved the young people dancing across the stage, with the most infectious, magnetic smiles I’d seen in a long time. Loving performance, loving being there, I was utterly delighted to be spending the next hour in their company. Even more so when they picked up the mic and started expressing their truths about the world.
What a tragedy to see them spend the majority of the performance sat at the back of the stage as the adults performed for them, spoke for them and made music for them.
What a missed opportunity to have three exciting live mediums, built on passion and emotion, to be performed in such a monotone and belaboured manner, and to not have the mediums play together and enhance the expression of each. I so desperately wanted them to react to each other, to find a voice together. I also had a particular note for whoever performed the majority of spoken word – they held the mic too close to their mouth making it difficult to understand, and the lack of variation in delivery made it hard to focus on what was being said. If the words came from young people let them speak!
And how great would it have been if our answers to “Canton is” had been included in the piece instead of involving us at the start only to be ignored for the rest of the performance.
The adults performing the work have worked hard and take great joy in what they do, and are clearly incredibly proud of the potential of the work.
It just needs to decide whether it is work for and by young people, in which case they need to be front and centre, or whether to use young people’s experiences as provocations for professional artists to create work around. A great deal of what I said can be addressed simply by changing how the work is framed to the audience.
I see great potential in this work and would love to see a more developed version, one that embraces its liveness and the unrefined, magnetic joy and passion of the young people on which it has built its foundation. Please do not take their voices away.
Unfortunately, The work is just not there yet. It is however an excellent, and exciting concept, one that is using mediums that resonate with young people in ways that traditional theatre doesn’t, so I am incredibly hopeful that the work will become something important and vital.
Interested in theatre, dance, visual art, gigs, poetry, film and more?
Want to access a free workshop which will give you an insight into the role of a critic?
Then, this is for you!
All participants will be able to:
-Access the workshop for free and see an open rehearsal of Exodus, Motherlode’s new production.
-Receive a press ticket to see and review Exodus on October 6th 2pm at The Coliseum, Aberdare
-Be supported by Get the Chance to continue to review a range of events and performances.
In Co-Production with RCT Theatres
By Rachael Boulton
“South Wales. The night the last factory closed. Four neighbours build a plane in an allotment and take off down the high street, past the butchers, past the curry house, and above the chapel in search of a life free from politics and the grind.”
Blisteringly funny, this heart-warming drama accompanied by live original score and tantalising visuals is a new adventure from the valleys that makes anything seem possible.
“Comic and celebratory, melodic and mournful, it’s an elegy for a place that’s not dead yet!” – New York Times Review for Motherlode.
In association with Creu Cymru. Supported by Arts Council of Wales, Bristol Old Vic & Chapter.
You will take part in a 60 minute workshop with Guy O’Donnell Director of social enterprise and online magazine website Get the Chance http://getthechance.wales
During the workshop you will be given an insight into the role of the arts critic. You will be given instruction on how to create a review and upload your response online. Participants will look at blogging, video, social media and much more! All workshop participants will get the opportunity for their reviews to feature on the Get the Chance website.
If you have one please bring a laptop, tablet and/or smartphone.
The workshop is limited to 10 places. All participants will be expected to write a review of the performance. The workshop will take place in the English Language.
Suitable for ages 14+
The workshop is on Saturday, October 6th 12-2pm at The Coliseum Theatre , Aberdare.
Diddordeb mewn theatr, dawns, celf weledol, cyngherddau, barddoniaeth, ffilm a rhagor?
Eisiau cymryd rhan mewn gweithdy yn rhad ac am ddim er mwyn dysgu beth yw rôl beirniad?
Dyma’r cyfle perffaith felly!
Bydd modd i bawb:
-Gymryd rhan yn y gweithdy yn rhad ac am ddim a gweld ymarfer ‘Exodus’, cynhyrchiad newydd Motherlode
-Cael tocyn i’r wasg i wylio ac adolygu Exodus ar 6 Hydref am 2pm yn Theatr y Colisëwm, Aberdâr
-Derbyn cefnogaeth Get The Chance er mwyn parhau i adolygu ystod o achlysuron a pherfformiadau.
Motherlode yn cyflwyno
Cyd-gynhyrchiad gyda Theatrau RhCT
Gan Rachael Boulton
De Cymru. Noson y ffatri olaf yn cau.
Mae pedwar cymydog yn adeiladu awyren mewn rhandir ac yn mynd i lawr y stryd fawr, heibio’r cigydd, heibio’r tŷ cyri, ac uwchben y capel i chwilio am fywyd heb wleidyddiaeth a heb bwysau’r byd.
Yn ogystal â bod yn ddoniol tu hwnt, mae calon fawr i’r ddrama yma. Gyda cherddoriaeth wreiddiol fyw, dyma antur newydd o’r cymoedd sy’n wledd i’r llygaid. Byddwch chi’n credu bod unrhyw beth yn bosibl.
“Comic and celebratory, melodic and mournful, it’s an elegy for a place that’s not dead yet!” – Adolygiad y New York Times Review o Motherlode.
Mewn cydweithrediad gyda Creu Cymru. Gyda chefnogaeth Cyngor Celfyddydau Cymru, Bristol Old Vic a Chapter.
Beth yw’r gweithdy?
Byddwch chi’n cymryd rhan mewn gweithdy awr o hyd gyda Guy O’Donnell, Cyfarwyddwr y fenter gymdeithasol a’r cylchgrawn ar-lein Get the Chance http://getthechance.wales
Yn ystod y gweithdy, byddwch chi’n dysgu beth yw rôl beirniad y celfyddydau. Byddwch chi’n dysgu sut i ysgrifennu adolygiad a’i roi ar-lein. Bydd y rheiny sy’n cymryd rhan yn edrych ar flogio, fideos, y cyfryngau cymdeithasol a llawer mwy! Bydd pawb yn cael y cyfle i weld eu hadolygiadau ar wefan Get The Chance.
Dewch â’ch gliniadur, llechen neu ffôn glyfar os oes un gyda chi. Dim ond lle i 10 person sydd ar y gweithdy. Bydd disgwyl i bawb sy’n cymryd rhan ysgrifennu adolygiad o’r perfformiad.Bydd y gweithdy yn digwydd yr iaith Saesneg.
Yn addas i bobl dros 14 oed
Mae’r gweithdy yn cael ei gynnal ddydd Sadwrn, 6 Hydref rhwng 12pm a 2pm yn Theatr y Colisëwm, Aberdâr.
This hilarious new play – specially created for visually impaired and sighted audiences alike – firmly places audio description centre stage. Tickets now on sale.
Theatre practitioner and emerging director, Chloë Clarke with Elbow Room Theatre Company, in collaboration with Galeri Caernarfon, launch their premiere show at three venues across Wales.
The play is inspired by Clarke’s determination to overcome barriers faced by disabled people based on her own theatre-going experience and prove that inclusive work can be daring and funny.
“Access in theatre is often an afterthought, which means that few shows are accessible and rarely creatively interesting. It’s time to see access as a creative opportunity”.
Audio description is woven in to the fabric of this pioneering play and delivered by every character (and the audience), giving visually impaired people a choice of interpretation and using description to heighten the play for everyone equally.
The Importance of Being Described… Earnestly? is a romping hour of fun as the audience join the company’s earnest attempt to stage an Oscar Wilde classic with a twist. Co-Directed by Robbie Bowman of Living Pictures (Diary of a Madman and Sexual Perversity in Chicago).
“A real treat of a show certain to leave ecstatic eyes, exuberant ears and thrilled middle bodies!”
An integrated cast of visually impaired and sighted actors includes Chloë Clarke, Dean Rehman, Lizzie Rogan & Jake Sawyers.
You can read and listen to our interview with the companies directors here
The Importance of Being Described…Earnestly? Autumn/Winter 2018 Age Guide: 16+
On the trans-formative stage that is the Olivier auditorium, something special is about to unfold.
Exit The King never really intrigued me before. But knowing such great actors such as Rhys Ifans (predominantly known for his starring role in Notting Hill and for our Welsh readers, Twin Town) and Adrian Scarborough (Gavin and Stacey), along with such wonderful reviews, I was easily turned.
Unusually for the National, this play includes no interval – my favourite! There is nothing like immersing oneself into a production, and this one is definitely one that needs your full attention and no interruptions.
A play written by Eugène Lonesco, Exit The King is the story of a King who created everything in the World, but becoming greedy with this and the thought of living forever, is coming to the end of his life at 400 years old, and cannot give it up.
There is a clowning essence to the take of this piece – slapstick comedy is consistent and brings the right amount of laughter with it, gently provoked and visa versa by the writing, with its witty humour. As well as smudged clown make up, making this feel hyper-real.
But it is also dark, thought provoking an emotional. As Ifans character deteriorates, it’s all too realistic and while the humour continues, it’s hard to find him as a comical character when he becomes so vulnerable and worth pity. And do not mistake this as criticism – this is exactly how this should be played and Ifans is nothing but a triumph! Even saying this about Ifans and his acting skills is almost too little a compliment – I’ve have always been a fan from his films but he brings out something else, something extraordinary on the stage. And with seats luckily as close as mine, being up close and personal as I honorably got to be, you can see how he envelopes the character into every essence of his being, physically, emotionally and deep into his soul.
Scarborough is as bafoon-ish and comical as you would suggest. A character as The Doctor was made for him – while in a way he is often typecast in these roles, he magically makes them all different, all new and this is of no exception. Complimenting the play and the writing, he has the ability to go from humorous to dark and cold and does this with ease and believe- ability.
Let’s not forget our leading ladies – both are so accomplished and different to one another. Indira Varma (Bride and Prejudice ) plays a quintessential posh Queen, with hilarity in her no-nonsense approach to Ifans, and ends with being the most poetic, heart felt and enticing monologue that is hard to look away from.
Amy Morgan, of Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama training, plays the over the top and hyper-real french, ‘true love’, second Queen – pink, pretty, prissy and very french. She plays a great contrast to Varma’s character, very chalk and cheese and their duo makes a great battle of wit, beauty and intelligence.
Exit The King is nothing but outstanding. Going in without any expectations (as I like to with all productions) I was suitably blown away by its perfection, its absurdity, its ability to pull on your emotions but also make you cackle out loud with laughter.
And coming away, I was more than starstruck by one of my heroes, Rhys Ifans.
The Director of Get the Chance, Guy O’Donnell recently met with Sarah Rogers, Artistic Director of Ransack Dance, they discussed her background, thoughts on the arts in Wales and her new production ‘Murmur’, taking place on Fri 14th Sept at Memo Arts Centre, Barry.
Hi Sarah great to meet you, can you give our readers some background information on yourself please?
Hi I am a South Wales based dance artist, currently running my own dance company based in Pontypridd called Ransack Dance Company which I set up in 2013. Our work always involves live dance, music and film, and I choreograph and direct the work as the Artistic Director of the company, working collaboratively with the artists in each discipline. We are also Affiliate Company to Artis Community, working to support and develop their dance pathways provision in RCT and Merthyr. Alongside my work with Ransack and Artis, I also work as a freelance choreographer and dance teacher and am currently a Dance Ambassador for National Dance Company Wales.
So what got you interested in performance and the arts?
I’d love to tell you about an amazing theatre show that inspired me years ago but I must admit I don’t think this is the case as I didn’t really go to the theatre much as a child, but my pathway was definitely through a love to move and dance…… I trained as a gymnast from an early age, and I think my way into the arts is that I became more and more fascinated by the choreography of the floor routines opposed to the acrobatic elements, so I started choreographing my own and the other gymnasts routines at the club. My parents then cottoned onto the fact I may like to dance and I was very lucky as they were really supportive and so they started to take me to the theatre. I think the musical Cats stands out as one of the first shows that I saw and that inspired me as a child (weird as I’m really not into musicals now!). When I got older I joined a local street dance and break dance group which was led by Tamsin Fitzgerald (now Director of 2Faced Dance) so I was very lucky to have her as a teacher.
Tamsin Fitzgerald, Director of 2Faced Dance.
She pointed me in the right direction of what contemporary companies to go and see, so I started to watch more contemporary dance theatre work and loved it! And she also suggested I go to my local dance school to take more formal lessons in styles such as ballet, and from there I went onto study at Laban, and have never looked back!
Your company Ransack is presenting a new production called Murmur at Barry Memo on Friday 14 September 2018 at 7:30pm. The production is advertised as “Telling two unique short stories in a surge of risk taking athletic contemporary dance, crashing live music and breath taking film images.” It sounds very exciting! Can you tell us more?
‘Murmur’ is a double bill involving our work ‘Momenta’ and ‘Broken Arrows.’ We have been building the work through various R&D phases over the past three years, one of which included sharing an earlier version of Momenta at the Memo last November. We are excited now to go back to the Memo and share the finished work and perform ‘Broken Arrows’ which we have never performed at the venue before.
Each work has live dance, music and film. The performers take the audience through a series of scenarios, dancing under feathers falling from the sky, jumping over drum kits, dancing at live gigs and fighting their way through storms! The first piece ‘Momenta’ is based on a television interview (from the 1973 Dick Cavett Show) with Marlon Brando in which he describes ‘We act every day to save our lives,’ so we explore this notion of acting as a survival mechanism and question in the piece-when are we truly authentic?
The second work ‘Broken Arrows’ is essentially a love story, and we reveal the memories of the protagonist character ‘The girl in red’, with some audiences seeing the work as presenting the theme of a love triangle and other seeing a more sinister side to the story.
There’s another element to the production as we’re creating an immersive feel with our second work with performances from Motion Control Dance and University of South Wales intertwined to bring the work to life and immerse the audience in the action! We are also collaborating with a live band-‘Best Supporting Actors’ who will play live with the Ransack musicians in one of the works and also play in the interval and offer a free gig following the performance.
As you mention the production will be followed by a live gig from the band ‘Best Supporting Actors,’ Its unusual two mix these two artforms together why have you chosen to programme them together?
It’s funny you say that as I think live music and dance is the most natural combination in the world!…Our work always involves live music, so by collaborating with the band we are trying to take this element to the next level. I think the initial idea came about as one of our scenes in ‘Broken Arrows’ is set at a music gig….so I wanted to actually have a full live band playing to bring this scene into reality, so the performers and the audience could actually be at a gig rather than recreating this somehow with just two musicians. There’s also another idea behind the collaboration however, as I’m really keen to create a full ‘night out’ experience for the audience, so that they can stay after the dance elements of the production, listen to some live music and have a drink so that we can challenge what the idea of going to see a dance show is. The performers will also be at the gig with the audience (turning into audience themselves!) and so I’m also hoping that this merges the idea of performers vs audience as two separate groups and allows the audience to get to know the performers and talk to them in a really relaxed environment (rather than a formal post show discussion for example).
Contemporary Dance can be thought of as an elitist art form, as a young Wales based dancer what work do you think needs to be done to support new audiences?
I think the majority of new audience come from outreach work, and working with young people to introduce them to dance…..This is a tough one as ultimately I think a lot of this issue comes down to what finding is available to allow dance companies to offer their outreach work for free or a reasonable and accessible price. Through my work with Artis Community in RCT, I see the challenge first hand of taking dance provision out of cities such as Cardiff.
Participation numbers are lower (at the moment!) travel sometimes becomes an issue as areas are more spread out, and there are more areas of deprivation in which organisations simply can not charge a lot (or anything) for dance classes if we want all young people to be able to access them.
I think there’s another side to this too however, which is really thinking about what new audiences to dance need. A lot of them want to be able to ‘understand’ the work, which we all know that the response from someone in the dance world (including myself!) would be ‘but there is nothing to understand ….and you can take what you want from it’. But I’m finding out more and more that even though we can preach this it won’t change how some audiences think. So I think it’s finding a way to share the process of work more and share what work is about before the audience sees it. This is already happening through lots of companies opening up their rehearsals and using social media more to share the process behind making the works, so I think just developing this and growing this idea in different ways would be great. I also think including other art forms helps, and this is part of the reason that with Ransack we include film and music as some audiences may relate to these art forms more than the dance at first and be able to use this as ‘a way in’ to the dance elements.
Get the Chance works to support a diverse range of members of the public to access cultural provision. Access for diverse citizens is a key priority for a range of arts funders and organisations Are you aware of any barriers to equality and diversity for either Welsh or Wales based artists/creatives?
I think the main barrier is economic. There are very few schools that offer a dance G.C.S.E or A Level for example with young people then having to pay for extra-curricular provision in dance at dance schools which often charge a lot for their classes, and some families simply can not afford this. There’s then also issues over funding for organisations and companies to be able to offer their dance provision for an accessible price so that people from all backgrounds can access their provision.
There are a range of organisations supporting Welsh and Wales based artists and creatives, I wonder if you feel the current support network and career opportunities feel ‘healthy’ to you?
Part of the reason I moved back to Wales is that I do feel like there is a really supportive arts network here, particularly in dance. It’s great that there are now professional dance classes available through Groundwork Pro too.
I would say that I think there could be more support for emerging choreographers however and emerging companies. One of my reactions to this was to set up the Arrive Dance Platform for emerging choreographers with Ransack and share our theatre space when we have R&D with other artists so they can platform their work and get feedback. I think however that perhaps some of the bigger companies and organisations could support this area a bit more, particularly with the loss of Wales Dance Platform a few years ago.
If you were able to fund an area of the arts in Wales what would this be and why?
That’s such a hard question to answer! I think that all areas of the arts from community practice, to youth provision to professional production work and in all art forms support and feed into one another so I couldn’t pick just one! I think where the arts can thrive is when each area supports each other and all artists and organisations collaborate and work together.
What excites you about the arts in Wales?
I think there’s a really exciting feel in Wales that art forms merge from one to another. There’s lots of multi-media/multi-art form work happening. In my dance world I’ve seen this more and more through actors working with dancers and vice versa and this is one of the reasons my work is merging more and more into physical theatre, involving speech in our work (after having collaborated with Theatre Director Angharad Lee). Although I love the arts scene in Cardiff, it’s also exciting to see more and more artists coming out of the capital city and setting up their own networks and connections, and to see how these areas are evolving culturally because of this. This is one of the reasons that this year I have decided to base Ransack in Pontypridd, and with the new theatre and training spaces opening here at the YMCA next year, there have been lots of artists interested in working in this area, and there’s been lots of interesting and creative planning meetings and conversations happening that I’ve been involved in, so it’s exciting that we can start a new network and way of working together in the area.
What was the last really great thing that you experienced that you would like to share with our readers?
Again the mixture of live dance and music in this show really inspires me.
In Wales, most recently I have seen National Theatre Wales’ ‘English,’ which I loved as it really closed the gap between the audience and the performer and the way that the show instigated a conversation between the two was really clever and something I’d like to take into my own work. Oh and it was a little while ago but their production ‘We’re Still Here’ also really inspired me, particularly the way the community stories and people from the community were integrated into the performance.
Deafinitely Theatre and New Diorama Theatre present
4.48 Psychosis by Sarah Kane
Award-winning Deafinitely Theatre bring its celebrated bilingual approach to Sarah Kane’s lyrical and haunting final play about mental health. 4.48 Psychosis is performed in British Sign Language and spoken English for the very first time.
Creator of the sell-out Blood on the Snow and A Curious Zoo makes new haunted house experience at Insole Court this Halloween.
Following the sell-out performances of Blood on the Snow at Four Elms (2014) and A Curious Zoo (2012), award winner Caroline Sabin reveals her next new site-specific performance which will be a sophisticated haunted house experience for adults this Halloween in Insole Court, Cardiff from 24-31 October 2018.
Sabin’s site-specific production Mysterious Maud’s Chambers of Fantastical Truth will explore and expose the inconsistencies of perception and encourage audiences to question the ‘reality’ we generally take for granted.
The show will be presented in the recently renovated Gothic mansion of the Insole family, Insole Court in Llandaff, Cardiff, an ideally spooky setting. Audiences will wander freely through the eerie corridors, tower and attics to meet the uncanny inhabitants including the mad scientist Mysterious Maud.
Through Maud’s diabolical experiments in perception she has uncovered a fantastical truth – that reality is not as fixed as we might like to believe. Join her and her cohort of strange and twisted characters to experience the evidence for yourself amongst the dusty halls and shadowed staterooms. Here you will meet Frankenstein’s Butler, Juliet’s Ghost, Igor, the Werewolf, Maud’s Fortune Telling Aunt – and the Psychiatrist trying to unravel fact from fiction in a world where reality slides through your fingers. He starts to wonder if Maud is mad after all….
Creator Caroline Sabin said; “I have always been fascinated with the nuts and bots of perception – something it is easiest to take for granted. Exploring these ideas can be quite unnerving so a haunted house seemed like the ideal setting, and Insole Court is a dream location with it’s looming faux Gothic presence. The show will be full of action, surprises, beauty and humour – you’ll laugh and then jump out of your skin! The costumes and styling will be Victorian Gothic/Steampunk. I’m having a great deal of fun with the design of this show.”
With an extraordinary cast of multi-talented performers and live music created by composer Rowan Talbot, audiences will spend 90 minutes in a multitude of delights from spine-tingling to funny, being intrigued and confused about their own perception of reality and illusion.
Performing alongsideCaroline Sabin are a feast of locally and internationally acclaimed performers and musicians, including Gerald Tyler, Kim Noble, Hugh Stanier, Lara Ward, composer Rowan Talbot and broadcaster and writer Jon Gower.
Mysterious Maud’s Chambers of Fantastical Truth will be performed at Insole Court, Llandaff, Cardiff from 24-31 October, performances at6pm and 8.30pm. BSL performances during the run.Tickets are £14 and £8 and are available from Chapter Arts Centrewww.chapter.org/029 2030 4400 in advance of the performance. Limited seat available. Suitable for ages 12+. Follow the creation process via Facebook and Twitter @mysteriousmaud
The real-life story of Eva Perón is a classic case of fact being stranger than fiction, and couldn’t be more suited to adaptation as a musical, and a highly successful musical at that ever since Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s hit production in London’s West End back in 1978, followed by Broadway a year later and since then a string of professional productions worldwide.
Eva Duarte was living in poverty in rural Argentina in the late 1930s when her involvement with a musician takes her to Buenos Aires where her determination to become a star eventually results in a meeting with Argentinian Colonel Juan Perón at a benefit concert. He too has an ambition – in his case to become President of Argentina. With Eva – who later becomes known as Evita – by his side he succeeds. Meanwhile, despite her unflagging work for the poor of the country, Eva’s extravagant lifestyle leads to criticism.
This new production by the really Useful Group under the banner of Bill Kenright breathes new life into the show with a brand new cast including the charismatic Glenn Carter as Che. Acting as narrator, Carter’s expressive delivery and fine voice guide the audience through the twists and turns of the story of the ambitious girl from the sticks who becomes the wife of the President of Argentina, with all the trappings of wealth and status that go with it.
Taking on the role of Eva is Lucy O’Byrne – not an easy task, given that not one but two showbiz icons – Elaine Paige in the Seventies West End production and Madonna in the film – have previous in this respect. O’Byrne’s voice is strong but she needs to guard against a resulting loss of clarity at times, which is shame given the emotive quality of Tim Rice’s wonderful lyrics. O’Byrne came into her own in the second half with her performance of what was to be Eva Perón’s last appearance and her singing of ‘Don’t Cry For Me, Argentina’ – heart-rending in its beauty. Interpreted by, and under the baton of musical director Anthony Gabriele, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s marvellous musical score is given full throttle, at times to the extent of being overloud in the first half but meltingly moving in the highly charged and emotional second half.
Good to see some of the talent that comes out of Wales in Swansea-born Mike Sterling as Perón. Historically in the musical the role is underplayed in relation to that of Eva. Accordingly, Sterling gives us only a glimpse of the man that was Perón leaving us aware that behind a pragmatic exterior lies an ability to recognise and rely on the power behind the throne – Eva.
Important to the first half of the story is Magaldi, the musician whose eye for the girls is Eva’s route to Buenos Aires. The dark good looks of Oscar Balmaseda make for a neat bit of casting, as does that of Cristina Hoey as Perón’s former mistress, swiftly given the boot by Eva. Although Hoey makes only one appearance, and a brief one at that, her singing of Another Suitcase, In Another Hall is up there with the best. This girl is definitely one to watch.
At the end of the day it is, as with much if not most musical theatre, the story plus the songs that make or break the show, and here the plot is a given and as for the songs – beautiful.
Runs until Saturday 8 September 2018
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