Category Archives: Theatre

Review: Ageless, Sherman Youth Theatre, Sherman Theatre by Sian Thomas

All photos credit Chris Lloyd

Yesterday, I saw Ageless at the Sherman Theatre. I haven’t been to the Sherman for some time, the last time I was there was for an event for the Cardiff Fringe Festival last year and it was nice to be back. It’s always a lovely venue to attend, it creates a really specific, really capturing atmosphere.


The play, Ageless, had a really interesting concept. A pill being made in order to cheat ageing. Essentially, live forever, and to live forever young. In addition to this concept, there were also a multitude of characters – each with different, and clear, motivations – easily ones to root for and enjoy seeing when they came on stage. Along with this came a really compelling atmosphere – especially when the scenes conveyed a group of rebellious teens fighting against this pill being made and distributed, a couple who have been taking it, and the two head scientists who made it. Bouncing between these three gave a really good depth to a world that no longer really ages, and I really liked seeing the tension between the three be created. There was a really good split of stage time between “young and old” to make the story really interesting and quick to figure out who’s side you were on.


Like always, the Sherman has incredible setting. I saw, what feels like a billion years ago, their production of Romeo and Juliet, and I remember how fun the stage looked then. This stage, just as that, was fun, too. And also practical – I really liked the way the cast would move it around to create a different atmosphere and setting.

The end was pretty clever. I liked the implications it left its world and the audience with. If the “being ageless” pill left takers with minuscule chances to have children, then it created a much bigger situation than just this revelation and the subsequent reaction. Essentially, it feels like there should be an Ageless 2 exploring “what came next”. The premise of the play, and the way the play itself was delivered, almost feels like it should be a TV show pitch, and I think the story idea there could definitely go far.


I’m really glad I saw it on one of the three days it was showing. It was a lovely watch of an intricate, almost dystopian, world.

Sian Thomas

Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru yn cyhoeddi cast, Merched Caerdydd / Nos Sadwrn o Hyd




Theatr Clwyd, Yr Wyddgrug: 13–15 Mawrth

Pontio, Bangor: 19 + 20 Mawrth

Canolfan Garth Olwg, Pentre’r Eglwys: 22 Mawrth

Theatr Borough, Y Fenni: 25 Mawrth

Canolfan y Celfyddydau Pontardawe: 26 Mawrth

Theatr Mwldan, Aberteifi: 28 Mawrth

Canolfan y Celfyddydau Aberystwyth: 29 + 30 Mawrth

Canolfan S4C Yr Egin, Caerfyrddin: 1 + 2 Ebrill

Galeri, Caernarfon: 4 + 5 Ebrill

Ffwrnes, Llanelli: 8 + 9 Ebrill

Stiwdio Weston, Canolfan Mileniwm Cymru, Caerdydd: 10–13 Ebrill

Canllaw oedran: 14+. Yn cynnwys iaith gref.

Mynediad i’r di-Gymraeg drwy gyfrwng ap Sibrwd.

Manylion y cynhyrchiad

Dwy ddrama gyfoes wedi eu lleoli yn y brifddinas, gan ddau o’n hawduron mwyaf beiddgar.

Merched Caerdydd (gan Catrin Dafydd)

Caerdydd yw cartref Cariad, Liberty ac Awen. Er eu bod nhw’n troedio llwybrau gwahanol iawn i’w gilydd, mae ganddyn nhw fwy yn gyffredin na’u dinas. Dyma dair o ferched ifanc disglair ac, efallai, annisgwyl y Gymru gyfoes sy’n ceisio gwneud synnwyr o’u bywydau blêr. Merched sy’n ymrafael â’u gorffennol wrth geisio llywio’u dyfodol. Ond a fydd newid yn bosib? Neu a ydi eu ffawd eisoes wedi’i benderfynu?

Nos Sadwrn o Hyd (gan Roger Williams)

Wedi i Take That chwalu perthynas Lee a Matthew mewn clwb nos yn y brifddinas, mae Lee yn cymryd camau cynnar, melys ar lwybr carwriaeth newydd.  Am gyfnod byr mae bywyd yn fêl i gyd, ond ar ôl bob nos Sadwrn daw realiti oer bore Sul.  Ac fel mae Lee’n darganfod, does dim byd yn para am byth.

Roedd 2018 yn flwyddyn arbennig iawn i Catrin Dafydd, sydd yn nofelydd, bardd a chyflwynydd radio, ac yn un o awduron Pobol y Cwm (BBC Cymru). Enillodd y Goron yn Eisteddfod Genedlaethol Caerdydd, a hynny’n fuan ar ôl ennill Gwobr Ffuglen Gymraeg Llyfr y Flwyddyn 2018 am ei nofel arbrofol Gwales. Comisiynwyd Merched Caerdydd yn wreiddiol gan Bwyllgor Llên a Drama Eisteddfod Caerdydd, ac fe’i datblygwyd a’i chyflwyno gan Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru fel rhan o raglen Theatr Gen Creu yn y Steddfod.

Mae Nos Sadwrn o Hyd yn drosiad Cymraeg gan Roger Williams o’i ddrama boblogaidd Saturday Night Forever. Llwyddodd ei fersiwn Saesneg gwreiddiol i ddenu canmoliaeth gan gynulleidfaoedd ac adolygwyr fel ei gilydd. Comisiynwyd yr addasiad Cymraeg hwn gan yr Eisteddfod a Stonewall Cymru, ac fe’i cyflwynwyd am y tro cyntaf yn Eisteddfod Genedlaethol Caerdydd 2018 gan gwmni OOMFF, fel rhan o raglen Mas ar y Maes, sef prosiect newydd ar y cyd rhwng yr Eisteddfod, Stonewall Cymru a’r gymuned LGBTQ+. Mae Roger yn enw adnabyddus ym myd y ddrama yng Nghymru, yn arbennig felly am gyfresi teledu poblogaidd felCaerdydd aBang.  Enillodd Bang nifer o wobrau nodedig, yn cynnwys Medal Efydd Gŵyl Gwobrau Teledu a Ffilm Ryngwladol Efrog Newydd 2018 – Rhaglen Adloniant Orau (Drama Drosedd), ac enillodd wobr Drama Teledu BAFTA Cymru 2018. Mae gwaith Roger ar gyfer y llwyfan yn cynnwysTir Sir Gâr (Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru, 2013).

Cyfarwyddwr:

Mared Swain (Merched Caerdydd)

Aled Pedrick (Nos Sadwrn o Hyd)

Cynllunydd Set a Gwisgoedd:

Heledd Rees

Cynllunydd Goleuo:

Elanor Higgins

Cynllunydd Sain a Chyfansoddwr:

Dyfan Jones

(Cynllun sain Nos Sadwrn o Hyd yn seiliedig ar gynllun gwreiddiol gan Heddwyn Davies)

Cast:

Emmy Stonelake

Gwenllian Higginson

Hanna Jarman

Sion Ifan

Cynhyrchiad Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru mewn cydweithrediad ag Eisteddfod Genedlaethol Cymru, Mas ar y Maes, Stonewall Cymru ac OOMFF, gyda chefnogaeth gan Theatr Clwyd.

Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru yw’r cwmni theatr cenedlaethol iaith Gymraeg. Rydym yn creu profiadau theatr beiddgar, uchelgeisiol, cynhwysol a chofiadwy wrth galon ein cymunedau, mewn canolfannau theatr traddodiadol a lleoliadau annisgwyl ledled Cymru a thu hwnt.

Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru announces the cast for Merched Caerdydd / Nos Sadwrn o Hyd

Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru is pleased to announce the full cast for the production Merched Caerdydd / Nos Sadwrn o Hyd which will tour Wales between 13 March and 13 April. Merched Caerdydd is a new work by Catrin Dafydd which was presented as a rehearsed reading of a work-in-progress to large audiences at the Cardiff National Eisteddfod in 2018, and Nos Sadwrn o Hyd is an adaptation by Roger Williams of his own popular play Saturday Night Forever. Two contemporary plays based in the capital city, by two of Wales’s most distinct voices.

The cast are Emmy Stonelake, Gwenllian Higginson and Hanna Jarman (Merched Caerdydd) and Sion Ifan (Nos Sadwrn o Hyd).

Joining Emmy Stonelake, who took part in the rehearsed readings of Merched Caerdydd (Theatr Gen Creu yn y Steddfod), will be Gwenllian Higginson and Hanna Jarman. Gwenllian Higginson returns to Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru following previous appearances in Macbeth (2017), Yr Hwyaden Fach Hyll/The Ugly Duckling (in co-production with Sherman Theatre, 2014/15) and Dyled Eileen (2014). Gwenllian also appeared recently in Exodus (Motherlode Theatre). Hanna Jarman joins the company for the first time. Her recent theatre credits include Hud y Crochan Uwd/The Magic Porridge Pot by Sherman Theatre and she’ll be appearing soon in Merched Parchus on S4C which she co-wrote with Mari Beard.

Sion Ifan returns to play Lee in Nos Sadwrn o Hyd, following his widely acclaimed performance when the adaptation was first staged at the 2018 Cardiff National Eisteddfod. Sion has appeared on S4C in programmes including Byw Celwydd, Y Streic a Fi, Tir and Teulu and has performed with Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru in Pan Oedd y Byd yn Fach, Y Fenyw Ddaeth o’r Môr, and Tir Sir Gâr.

Mared Swain, Neontopia’s Artistic Director, directs Merched Caerdydd. Her recent directing credits include Tuck, A Good Clean Heart and Lovecraft (Not the Sex Shop in Cardiff). Her television credits include Storyline ProducerforGwaith Cartref. Aled Pedrick directs Nos Sadwrn o Hyd. Aled is best known as an actor on the popular series 35 Awr and Parch and he recently appeared in Sherman Theatre’s acclaimed production, Woof.Aled has also directed for Theatr Clwyd and Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru (Pan Oedd y Byd yn Fach, 2016).

These two one-hour-long plays will be presented as a double bill with a 20-minute interval. The production opens in Theatr Clwyd before touring throughout Wales, and the tour comes to an end in Cardiff with a series of performances at the Weston Studio as part of the Wales Millennium Centre’s Performances for the Curious season.

Tour details:

Theatr Clwyd, Mold: 13–15 March

Pontio, Bangor: 19 + 20 March

Canolfan Garth Olwg, Church Village: 22 March

Borough Theatre, Abergavenny: 25 March

Pontardawe Arts Centre: 26 March

Theatr Mwldan, Cardigan: 28 March

Aberystwyth Arts Centre: 29 + 30 March

Canolfan S4C Yr Egin, Carmarthen: 1 + 2 April

Galeri, Caernarfon: 4 + 5 April

Ffwrnes, Llanelli: 8 + 9 April

Weston Studio, Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff: 10–13 April

Age guidance: 14+. Includes strong language

This is a Welsh language production. The Sibrwd app provides English-language access.

Details of the production

Two contemporary plays based in the capital city, by two of Wales’s most distinct voices.

Merched Caerdydd (Cardiff Girls) by Catrin Dafydd

Cardiff is home to Cariad, Liberty and Awen. Whilst they each tread a very different path in life, they have more in common than their city alone. Here are three young, bright, and perhaps unexpected women from contemporary Wales, each trying to make sense of their messy lives. They are women trying to come to terms with their pasts whilst navigating their futures. But will change be possible? Or has their fate already been sealed?

Nos Sadwrn o Hyd (Saturday Night Forever)by Roger Williams

Following a messy break-up, sound-tracked by Take That in a city centre nightclub, Lee goes looking for love and finds it. For a short while life is sweet, but after every Saturday night dawns the harsh reality of Sunday morning and, as Lee discovers, nothing lasts forever.

2018 was a very special year for Catrin Dafydd, who is a novelist, poet, radio presenter and a script writer for Pobol y Cwm (BBC Cymru Wales). She won the Crown at the Cardiff National Eisteddfod, very soon after winning the Fiction category in the Welsh Book of the Year Awards 2018 for her experimental novel Gwales. Merched Caerdydd was originally commissioned by the Literature and Drama Committee of the Cardiff National Eisteddfod and was developed and presented for the first time by Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru as a work-in-progress as part of the Theatr Gen Creu yn y Steddfod programme.

Nos Sadwrn o Hyd is a Welsh language adaptation by the playwright Roger Williams of his own popular play Saturday Night Forever. The original English version was well-received by audiences and reviewers alike. This adaptation was commissioned by the National Eisteddfod and Stonewall Cymru and was presented for the first time at this year’s Cardiff National Eisteddfod by OOMFF as part of the Mas ar y Maes programme – a new project arranged jointly between the Eisteddfod, Stonewall Cymru and the LGBTQ+ community. Roger Williams is an established writer in the world of Welsh drama, particularly for his popular television series such as Caerdydd andBang. Bang has won a number of notable awards, including the Bronze Medal at the New York International Television and Film Awards 2018 – Best Entertainment Programme (Crime Play). It also won the BAFTA Cymru/Wales Award 2018 for a Television Play. Roger’s work for the stage includes Tir Sir Gâr(Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru, 2013).

A Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru production in association with the National Eisteddfod of Wales, Mas ar y Maes, Stonewall Cymru and OOMFF, supported by Theatr Clwyd.

Director:

Mared Swain (Merched Caerdydd)

Aled Pedrick (Nos Sadwrn o Hyd)

Set and Costume Designer:

Heledd Rees

Lighting Designer:

Elanor Higgins

Sound Designer and Composer:

Dyfan Jones

(Sound design of Nos Sadwrn o Hyd based on an original design by Heddwyn Davies)Cast:

Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru is the Welsh-language national theatre of Wales. We create bold, ambitious, inclusive and memorable theatre experiences in the heart of our communities, at traditional theatre venues and unexpected locations across Wales and beyond.

Please note this is a paid for article

Review The Taming of the Shrew, Sherman Theatre by Harriet Hopkins

Credit Mark Douet
5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

When I was first introduced to Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew I found it amusing and, I think, quite romantic. Forgive me – I was 11, going on 12, and Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliet had recently convinced me that all Shakespeare was romantic!

The truth, as Jo Clifford’s reimagining shows us, is that there is no romance in Shrew.

It is a play within a play, within a play, and you are invited, as an audience, to join in with suspending your disbelief – you are asked to dream, along with the players, of a world where women are the higher power. This alone might put some readers off going – don’t let it. Despite the serious nature of the subject and the action, this production manages to be riotously funny as it explores a matriarchal Shakespearean landscape.

Credit Mark Douet


The design (Madeleine Girling), made up of a ring in the centre, voils that separate it from the audience when required, and mic stands and off-set piano all make it clear that this is a “show”; an arena of exploration, with on-stage music and sound effects provided by the cast (predominantly from Hannah Jarrett-Scott who plays a bawdy, arrogant Luciento, unapologetically brandishing an electric guitar like a weapon of lust). The players break character regularly to help explain what’s going on, and to help themselves work out who they are now, and next, and what exactly is happening; there is a lot of fun to be poked at the original in this way as it really does make you realise just how ridiculous the whole idea is.

Credit Mark Douet


Using a mix of composed and re-worked songs (such as the opening to Bloody Motherf***ing **shole by Martha Wainwright, ironically sung by Scarlett Brookes’s unnerving Petruchio), the hard-to-digest moments are broken up by musical interjections that the whole cast take part in, though Jarrett-Scott and Alexandria Riley (most often playing Tranio) take the lead in this.

I enjoyed every performance from each actor, whichever character or mode they happened to be playing at different times; I believed in them equally and, for me, it is a triumph that there were no “stand out” performances in this play challenging the absence of equality. It speaks to the quality of their chemistry and what must surely have been a furiously fun and raw rehearsal process. The direction (Michael Fentiman) adds layers of meaning to the reframed, pared down text, illuminating the darker elements including domestic abuse, manipulation and gas lighting. The whole production is carefully balanced in this way; the serious, uncomfortable moments offset by humour and spectacle which allows these subjects to be explored without the whole thing feeling dour and depressing. Instead, you come out with questions around power and identity and how far have we really come in creating an equal, fair society?

Credit Mark Douet

If you are interested in seeing something blazingly different, then I’d recommend spending a few bob on tickets to this sassy, sexy, piece of theatre. Just…think about who you take with you as the very faint-hearted might find it a little uncomfortable. Personally, for me that was the draw!

The Taming of the Shrew is a co-production between Sherman Theatre and Tron Theatre Company. Be amazed by it at Sherman Theatre, Cardiff until 16th March. Tickets £18 (standard). Check out the website for concessions.


REVIEW: Bummer and Lazarus at The Other Room by Gareth Ford-Elliott

3 out of 5 stars (3 / 5)

Bummer and Lazarus is an absurdist play by Yorkshire-based Big Egg Theatre. Loosely based on two real-life dogs of legend from 1860’s San Francisco, we follow Bummer and Lazarus as they try to find food and a way out of the room they are stuck in.

Whilst Lazarus has an existential crisis and is desperate to know the meaning of everything, Bummer is much more grounded and focused on the goal of escape. Lazarus asks an infinite amount of questions before truly testing Bummer’s patience, driving the conflict throughout.

The writing from Jack Harrison varies a lot. There’s a lot of subtlety to the writing which is brilliant and the rhythm at times is great. But the mood and tone rarely shift which makes the production a little stale.

Bummer explains the existence of time, inanimate objects and indeed existing itself to the curious Lazarus. However, this is all stuff the audiences knows and the novelty of Lazarus’ innocent thirst for knowledge wears off quickly.

These conversations fill the time but don’t hold the attention. There is some wit and humour, but really not enough to carry the play. The subtlety of the relationship changes are good, but ultimately the play doesn’t fulfil its potential.

The performances also vary. The physicality between the two is generally good. Bummer the old, wise, beaten dog and Lazarus an excitable puppy. But where the physicality works, the emotion behind the characters feels bland and underdeveloped. Perhaps an issue with the writing but the performances from Jack Harrison and Alec Walker don’t do enough.

Some people will love this show. If you can get over the issues, there are certainly things to enjoy in this production. If you’re a fan of absurdist theatre, then definitely go and see this. The potential is certainly there, it’s just not quite hitting every note.

Bummer and Lazarus is an absurd comedy about two dogs working through an existential crisis that doesn’t quite realise its potential.

Bummer and Lazarus is part of The Other Room’s ‘Spring Fringe’ curated spring season. One of eight shows coming to Cardiff’s only pub theatre over eight weeks. Tickets can be found for this and other upcoming Spring Fringe shows HERE, with an ever-growing discount for the more shows you book.

Bummer and Lazarus performed at The Other Room
05 – 08 March 2019
Presented by Big Egg Theatre Company
Written and Directed by Jack Harrison
Produced by Lydia Harrison
Performed by:
Lazarus – Jack Harrison
Bummer – Alec Walker
Assistant Director – Dave Reeson

Review The Verdict, Theatr Clwyd by Karis Alaina Clarke

Middle Ground Theatre

The Verdict

by Barry Reed

Adapted by Margaret May Hobbs

Theatr Clwyd

Tuesday 5 – Saturday 9 March

Box Office 01352 701521

www.theatrclwyd.com

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5) for this David V Goliath courtroom drama 

The Verdict stars Ian Kelsey who first found fame as 90s teen heart-throb Dave Glover in Emmerdale,  and was most recently  seen on TV as villain Vinny Ashford in Coronation Street.

 Kelsey is part of a 15 strong cast of familiar stars from TV including Denis Lill (Only Fools and Horses), Paul Opacic (Bad Girls/Hollyoaks),Christopher Ettridge (Goodnight Sweetheart).

The Verdict plays in Mold for one week only as part of a national tour, which continues at venues throughout the UK until the Summer and with the named cast it was not surprising to see an almost full house on the first night of the run. Originally a movies starring Paul Newman and James Mason it was seen as a masterpiece of the time and nominated for 5 Oscars, More than a courtroom drama the story questions human nature and the value of life.

The large cast did not disappoint and all delivered credible performances.  Kelsey was heartfelt as the down on his luck lawyer who likes the booze and the office floor more than his wife and his bed. He is engaging and convincing in his transitional journey from hard-bitten ambulance chaser to, fighter of the cause, and we follow him willingly as he takes on the Church, the Judicial system and his peers. Even in the early stages of the play he is likable and this in the main is down to Kelsey’s charm as a actor and his timing. 

Supporting him in the plot and in the play was Lill who gave a stand out performance as one time partner and the surrogate father figure. Bringing a comic one liner to almost every delivery the chemistry between the two was entertaining and believable. 

There was a clever use of drops for set changes making the simple set seem more elaborate than it was, naturalistic in style the lighting and direction was all very safe and felt a little stated in the first half – this along with the fact it was set in the 70’s made it feel overall a little dated – with more adventurous lighting and potentially setting it in modern day much more could have been achieved from this talented cast…. Especially as the main theme of the play is taking on the System, exposing deceit and showing that “No life is small” this is as relevant today as it was in 1976. 

However when the second half kicked in and the courtroom drama began the tension and the acting over rode any concerns about lighting or direction I may have been having and all I was interested in was what would the verdict be!!

Review Earthquakes in London, UWTSD by Hannah Ladd

I was `shook` by the talent UWTSD students presented in their main house production of ‘Earthquakes in London’ by Mike Bartlett! Excellently directed by Iona Hefin, assisted by Kiera Sikora. This piece had my glued to my seat!

This story is unfolded through 3 sisters, an estranged father and an unborn child! Tackling hard hitting, relevant themes including climate change, mental health and modern relationships! With three intertwining storylines this play has many characters to be portrayed making this a perfect and clever choice made by Hefin for the 3rd year Acting students to explore!

As you enter the space you are instantly brought in to an exciting environment because the set for this piece is incredible! The entire theatre is the centre of an earthquake! With three platforms set up for action! Turning a traditional proscenium arch space into reversed thrust production. With the use of projection throughout tying this piece together. The design and production students working on this piece have done exceptional work and are a credit to the production.

Being taken on such an epic journey is a challenge for any group of actors, and the acting students at UWTSD didn’t disappoint. With a cast of 23 working as one, no one dropped the ball. The energy is the room really kept my engaged and interested throughout. With some stand out performances from Emma Davis as Peter/Emily, Ryan Stead as Colin and Grace Hazel Nicholls as Jasmine (cast 2). This group of Acting students should be incredibly proud of the work they have produced.

Grace Hazel Nicholls as Jasmine and Michael Rodney as Tom.

This show wouldn’t have been the epic production it was without Ioan Hefin. His passion to tell this story was filtered throughout. Ioan is truly talented.

This production is one UWTSD should treasure.  

Review Little Echoes by Tanica Psalmist

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

Little Echoes is a ninety minute play with no intermission, written by Tom Powell and directed by Stephen Bailey. The show was held at The Hope theatre in partnership with Beyond the Streets, a UK- based charity who partner with women on their journey out of sexual exploitation. With a strong belief that a life is possible beyond sexual exploitation, striving to prevent abuse in pursuit that all women will be safe from coercion, violence and control. Little Echoes took place in a small intimate space and consisted of three cast members; Maisie Preston as (Danielle), Ciara Pouncett as (June) and Michael DeVille as (Shajenthran).

I loved that the seating arrangement had the audience seated around the centre stage. Everyone experienced a different level of intensity depending on what angle you were watching from, however whichever angle you were sat, you were able to capture a significant instillation. The themes explored in this play were naivety, captivity, manipulation, sexual exploitation, deceit, resentment, regret, pain, infatuation and coercion.

This production was well directed. Whenever watching a production that has no intermission it’s vital to contain a multitude of emotionally compelling content that contains sensibility, action, relatable characters, climax, tension and credibility. Little Echoes incredibly migrated all those elements together, combining the essence of multi roleplaying and miniature props, subtle lighting and one dress change of Danielle getting into a grey tracksuit not long after witnessing two girls wearing the same outfit.

Very subtly after she’d seen that, Danielle’s admirer mentioned he’d like for her to get changed as her appearance could be a distraction, to then quickly correcting himself to being a distraction for him. Once Danielle changed her clothes, he commented ‘you look beautiful’ you could hear the negative connotation piercingly. Dannielle’s energy shifting prompted him to take advantage, stimulating her mind to emotionally distract her from the wider picture of what was really going on.

Danielle was brilliantly played by Maise Preston being an extremely relatable character, making her therefore very likeable. Her characteristics were funny, nerdy, naive, quirky, daring, young, wild and free; easily flattered, therefore drawn impulsively to a charming older man giving her attention, highlighting his successful music career and ongoing tours. Dannielle being head over heels and fuelled with lust, made her determined to impress a man she barley knew by pretending to be as into music as he was, hoping to secure a special place in his heart. It was emotionally devastating watching Dannielle repeatedly being taken advantage of, constantly seduced and caressed until she was able to mentally, physically and emotionally be convinced that she didn’t exist when she’d surprisingly open her eyes to find herself with the other girls in the room; recording her.

Every scene was suspenseful, every moment was sentimental and every action correlated to an incident that occurred later on in the play, making every aspect fundamental.  The stage was mainly softly spot lit, helping to make the intensity more surreal and impactful to watch.  All three actors complimented each other well, bringing high energy and temperament, changing accents and tone of voice to fit into different roles simultaneously.

It was impressing to see all three actors who’d been narrating and foretelling their own individual stories connect towards the end of the play. Towards the end you witness a torn unison of vulnerability, helplessness and victimisation. All three individuals were brutally hurt, attacked tragically in an artificial world that left division, confusion and a cliff hanger of the unknown. Little Echoes connectivity is profound and compelling. A well structured play that was extremely simplistic but yet fused with vitality and mental stimulation. Jumbo Pact with an imperative message that raised awareness to the severity of Sexual exploitation.

Review Rain Man, The Classic Screen to Stage Theatre Company, Theatr Clwyd By Donna Poynton

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

Rain Man is the inaugural production of The Classic Screen to Stage Theatre Company and follows a line of successful screen to stage productions from producer Bill Kenwright including A Few Good Men, The Shawshank Redemption and Twelve Angry Men. Previous performances have starred an array of critically acclaimed actors including Martin Shaw, Rob Lowe and Suranne Jones.

Most will know Rain Man as the Academy Award winning movie starring Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman. Released in 1988, the film was directed by Barry Levinson and written by Barry Morrow and Ronald Bass. Morrow created the character of Raymond having met Kim Peek, who, although not autistic, was born with an encephalode (a large blister on the back of his head). Kim’s parents were told he should be in an institution, but they rejected this advice, and, by the age of 18 months, Kim could memorise any book read to him only once. He attained all high school requirements by age fourteen and had an encyclopedic knowledge in a range of subjects, from History to Classical Music. However, Kim couldn’t walk until he was four and had difficulty with tasks such as washing and dressing.

Rain Man tells the story of self-centered car salesman Charlie Babbitt (portrayed wonderfully by Chris Fountain who is the perfect mix of arrogant yet somehow likeable). Charlie one day receives the news that his estranged father has passed away and left him nothing but an old car and a collection of rose bushes! Charlie later learns his father’s three-million-dollar estate has been left to a mystery beneficiary. After a flurry of bad language, sarcasm and rage, he unearths that the beneficiary is, in fact, a brother he never knew he had; autistic savant Raymond.

The role of Raymond was due to be played by Paul Nicholls (EastEnders, Hustle, City Central). Unfortunately, the week before the production hit the venue, it was advertised that, due to illness, Mr. Nicholls would be unable to play the role at Theatr Clwyd. A disappointment to fans I’m sure, however, Adam Lilley, who stepped into the role, most certainly doesn’t disappoint. Lilley’s portrayal of Raymond is faultless throughout; he perfectly captures the essence of the reality of high functioning autism and his delivery of Raymond’s savant skills provide for many moments of humour contrasting with the sadness of his situation. Not only does he deliver the dialogue with fantastic timing and ease, his physical portrayal is so seemingly effortless and consistent.

The set design is simple yet effective and makes great use of varying effects including back drops, flying, trucks and easy to move furniture and props. During scene changes we hear a fitting 80s soundtrack played on high volume; perhaps purposeful, it creates with the audience a sense of hypersensitive hearing often associated with autism.  The 80s theme continues throughout with fabulous costumes harking back to the era and plenty of neon lights and references to TV shows and celebrities of the decade.

Whether or not you are aware of the movie, this production cannot be recommended highly enough, mainly for its two male leads for whom it is wholly worth booking tickets. The cast and the production are superb, but it is their stand out performances as two unlikely brothers which set the stage, and the story, alight. Rain Man plays at Theatr Clwyd, Mold until Saturday March 2nd, 2019 and goes on to play at several venues across the UK, finishing in Weston-Super-Mare between April 15th and April 20th, 2019.

Theatr Clwyd, Mold

February 25th-March 2nd, 2019

Writer: Dan Gordon

Director: Jonathan O’Boyle

Designer: Morgan Large

Lighting Designer: Jack Weir

Sound Designer: Dan Samson

Cast includes Chris Fountain, Elizabeth Carter, Mairi Barclay, Adam Lilley, Dominic Taylor, Joe Sellman Leava, Hannah Barker, Joshua Diffley

Unfortunately, due to illness, Paul Nicholls is unable to perform in Rain Man at Theatr Clwyd from February 25th to March 2nd, 2019. The role of Raymond Babbitt is played by Adam Lilley.

Review, Tartuffe, National Theatre By Hannah Goslin

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

In my naivety and lack of French speech (despite learning it for quite the number of years), I spent most of the week in the run up to this review, completely mispronouncing it.

However, after this production, there is no mistaking the name of Tartuffe.

Tartuffe by Molière is a comical yet poignant play about the differences and priorities of the class system. Tartuffe is brought into a rich family, when the man of the house begins questioning life and everything underneath his roof. This affects his family and his general existence and we question who really is the villain of the piece.

Denis O’Hare, who plays Tartuffe himself is excellent. He is the quintessential homeless hippy yet never tries to be anything other than what the family members say he is. He is vibrant and hilarious and while we are geared to hate him, we kind of love him too.

He embodies this smelly and unhealthy man, and yet the way he is portrayed and allows himself to be portrayed to the point where we feel like we can smell, taste and feel everything he is.

The whole production is full of very well rehearsed and thought out moments of slapstick humour and action – it is fast paced and full to the brim with comedy that we are never uncomfortable or lacking a moment of interest in what is on stage. All the actors react and perform with complete perfection.

When we reach the end, our hilarity is cut short. We are suddenly reminded of the ‘moral story’ and things become dark and real. This echoes much of the writing at The Royal Court and feels like a shock change to the laughter we encountered previously.

For a very old play, Tartuffe is extremely poignant and has the great ability to hold us in comedy to then suddenly drop us into doom.