Category Archives: Theatre

Review Shrek, WMC by James Briggs

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You know something special must be in town when the outside and interior of the Wales Millennium Centre is lit up luminous green. I must admit I was a little apprehensive that I would not enjoy the show and it would be something more suitable for younger children opposed to teenagers but I could not have been more wrong!

The show began with a voice over giving the usual warning to the audience regarding mobile phones but this warning certainly came with an unusual outcome!  The penalty being an ogre breaking wind in your face. It was from this you were able to get a pretty good feel of what you were in for with this musical.

Shrek The Musical is based on the Dreamworks animated film, and takes the audience on a magical and fun adventure with Shrek and his trusty companion Donkey who set off on a quest to rescue Princess Fiona. Their intention is to take her to the evil Lord Farquaad who intends to marry her so he can claim his rightful place on the throne.

Shrek the Musical UK Tour
Shrek the Musical UK Tour

The stage production very cleverly captures everything that was loved about the film. Ranging from the fairy-tale characters, like the gingerbread man who cringes at the thought of losing any of his gumdrop buttons to Peter Pan who is described in the show as being ‘a 30 year old who is in need of a shave’.

It was obvious that Gerard Carey stole the show as the strangely short Lord Farquaad, who had the audience laughing all night as he scuttled around the stage and repeatedly spread his legs, not to mention his entrance song ‘What’s Up, Duloc’ when he was sitting on top of his castle crossing his small legs.

It would be wrong, of course, not to mention the equally brilliant Shrek and Fiona. Shrek is played by Dean Chisnall who brings the well-loved character to life and his voice is so distinctive as that in the film. Fiona is played by the brilliant Bronte Barbe who shot to fame when she competed in the critically exclaimed Andrew Lloyd Webber search for the next Dorothy in ‘Over The Rainbow’. The complimentary pairing of these two characters reaches a whole new level when they sing the song ‘I think I got you beat’, the song is a sing off between them where they battle to prove who has had the worst upbringing before taking it to a whole new level with a competition of who is best at burping and passing wind. It also oddly becomes clear they are made for each other and should be together.

Shrek the Musical UK Tour
Shrek the Musical UK Tour

Another magical pairing in the show is Donkey and the Dragon. The Donkey is played by Idriss Kargbo who did a wonderful job and brought the playfulness and energy that Eddie Murphy brought in the film. Eddie Murphy is an extremely hard act to follow but Idriss Kargbo does it wonderfully. One of the big differences between film and stage is the lack of animation available and so for the show the Dragon was brought to life in the form of a gigantic puppet controlled by four puppeteers. The voice of the Dragon was provided by Candace Furbert who brought an amazing Gospel and Motown feel to the Dragon. The blend between actress off stage and the Dragon onstage was seamless making the audience feel the Dragon was alive and with them in the theatre.

Shrek the Musical

The show is wonderfully written and performed and crammed packed full of great jokes and innuendo that passes right over the heads of younger audience members. A must see Musical that is fun for all the family. Hurry up down to the Wales Millennium Centre because I guarantee you will be left shouting at the end “I am a believer!”.

Shrek The Musical runs at Wales Millennium Centre until Sunday the 10th of January 2016. Tickets can be purchased online at the Wales Millennium Centre website.

Review Alix in Wundergarten, The Other Room By Kiera Sikora

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The Other Room at Porter’s is currently home to a ridiculously funny, curiously clever and oddly insightful alternative Christmas ‘play’ at the moment- the quotations marks are necessary, I promise.

The audience are warmly welcomed through the brightly lit radio studio (Paul Towson) via a door made from a deck chair, a small path made from gravel and what could be squeaky dog toys, where we are met by the newly assembled actors for their first read through of ‘Alice in Wonderland’. Their director Fabian (François Pandolfo) is very quickly driven slightly mad by the actors, with Nick (Richard Elfyn) as the prime culprit for madness as he throws his knowledge, experience and insistent ego at the others by constantly showing off his fantastic vocals and making shamefully funny snide remarks about their acting skills. There’s also the newly trained RADA graduate Toby (Arthur Hughes) who is also driven to madness which he chooses to expresses through a children’s audio book he’s written, while the delicate Elin-Rose (Louise Marie Lorey) becomes lost in Nick’s celebrity status and in her own world too at times (which is kind of understandable under the circumstances and may also be the safer place to be). We also meet Gael (Dean Rehman) an Adler actor who’s name is constantly mispronounced by the director, but who is somehow promoted in what becomes the Cold War version of the classic story; ‘Alix in Wundergarten’.

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We are taken on a close and explicit journey of a first reading gone wrong, with singing, dancing, sexual advances and a storytelling Santa, where there is no line drawn between the actors world and ours. In this uniquely bold piece you question when the acting is acting and whether there is indeed anyone in the room who knows what on earth is going on at any point during the 90 minutes of witty weirdness. But what is definite about this performance is that you will feel for yourself how an environment and it’s contents can change you. How an imposing ego mixed with innocent ears and a straining need to be established in your own ideal can make you forget what it is you are ‘meant’ to be doing. I mean, you may not understand this piece, I understand that that’s not the point of it (if there is any definite point). But you will laugh, you will cringe and you will indulge in its oddly attractive madness. The wild and wonderful creation that is ‘Alix in Wundergarten’ written by François Pandolfo and directed by Angharad Lee, is a magnified mash up of the catastrophic collision between reality, time and logic, both in Wonderland and the rehearsal room. You’ll know what I mean when you see it..

Alix In Wundergarten - Richard Elfyn, Dean Rehman (photo  credit - Aenne Pallasca)

“Who in the world am I? Ah, that’s the great puzzle.”

Alix in Wundergarten runs at The Other Room at Porter’s until 19th December.

Who doesn’t love a little absurdity?

http://www.otherroomtheatre.com/en/whats-on/current-productions/

 

Review Mack and Mabel, WMC by James Briggs

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Direct from its home on Broadway, the smash hit musical Mack & Mabel is bringing all of the magic of the movies and Broadway to Cardiff Bay at the Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff. Mack and Mabel is based on the real-life romance between the Hollywood legends Mack Sennett and Mabel Normand. The musical tells the story of Mack Sennett who is a successful movie director who meets Mabel Normand, a sandwich shop girl who he makes his leading lady who instinctively knows how to act when faced with stereotypical villains of the screen.   They are a group of ground-breaking filmmakers who were pioneers in the world of film and their slapstick humour generated huge laughs from audiences that longed to escape the humdrum of everyday life. Mack and Mabel features an exceptional score written by the fantastic Jerry Herman and is widely prized for its classic Broadway sensations including I Won’t Send Roses and Tap Your Troubles Away.

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Michael Ball is excellent as Mack Sennett who was regarded as one of the best movie directors of his time and Rebecca LaChance’s performance as Mabel Normand is compelling, she is cheerful and energetic. The musical has been directed with flair and panache by Jonathan Church, who has directed many other successful West End shows such as Patrick Stewart’s Macbeth. Mack and Mabel is crammed packed with great visual jokes that nod to some of Hollywood’s greatest stars.

During the show one is taken aback by the clever and complex sets that are used to bring back fond memories of times gone by. This was realised on stage by the use of old movie clips incorporated into the onstage scenery and also mixing sets that were constructed on stage with technology such as a projector to fill in the rest of the scene. This was done seamlessly and added to the overall feel of being at the movies. All of the ingenious sets were designed by Robert Jones and the fabulous choreography complimented the era of the silent movies extremely well, the choreography used created some brilliant characters and gave a feel to what may have gone on all those years ago. The seamless transitions between the movies being filmed on the stage to it being shown on the projectors was very clever and made the audience feel like they really were watching the movies being made.

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This dazzling and exiting story leaves it’s audience with a lot to think about and a jubilant merriment of a time long ago. It is important that one should relish in the warmth of spirit then, which is reflected wonderfully in Jerry Herman’s naturally lush score and charming lyrics. Ensure you book tickets and go down to the Wales Millennium Centre to see Mack and Mabel between 01 Dec – 06 Dec 2015. You are guaranteed a nostalgic experience of the movie years gone by!

https://www.wmc.org.uk/Productions/2015-2016/DonaldGordonTheatre/mackmabel/

 

Review Wasted Kate Tempest USWTSD by Kiera Sikora

 

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Photo credit, Jennie Caldwell

Director Ioan Hefin’s take on Tempest’s dynamic piece about a group of friends performed at  Volcano Theatre in Swansea saw the cast struggling through their salad days painting a reflective portrait of the modern day dilemma; how do you escape when the safest place to go to escape, is inside yourself?

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Photo credit, Jennie Caldwell

The stage is dimly lit with little set and mountains of character, ‘R.E.M’ playing softly in the backround giving us the impression that we’re inside the youth’s world, we’re not intruding because we are, already, part of this world aren’t we? If we’re honest. And that idea of honesty plays a massive role in this piece.

Ed (is a man of many words, fighting his own battle with finding a balance between being happy and being high. While his best friend Danny (Danny Muir) fights the same problem in a different battle. He’s in love with Charlotte (Jodie Davis) and also in love with the idea of his band being being a world wide success, but one thing all three of them share is the loss of their friend Tony. The charcters tell us about how bright their lives were before, before their future became the present and their lives became a mess. When they had more to do than just get wasted. We hear their minds in a collection of pacy outbursts. From Charlotte’s ensemble of thoughts we learn that she needs more than this, than what Dan’s giving her, she needs her feelings to be put first. So she’s leaving. Tomorrow. Which leaves Dan even more confused about his own life. But what can he do about it? It’s clear to us after just a few minutes that Dan’s tormented by his own feelings, having to think about Charlotte’s might be a little too much to ask. Then there’s Ed, who’s off to ikea later with his girlfriend to pick up some curtains but just before then tells Dan what he needs to hear, that is band is crap and if he loves Charlotte then he better get a move on.

The piece is beautifully amplified by a band of thoughts, always present and just as slick. Kayley-Leighanne Stead, Jodie Edwards, Coral Halliwell, Claire Temple and Morgan Oehschlager evoke and encourage the action in the piece and add to that sense of unified confusion in an urban jungle. The leaves on the stage resembling their friend Tony’s tree, creates a kind of metaphor for the piece. Anthing that is not supported, encouraged, looked after, acknowledged and cared for is wasted. The almost forgotten leaves are an example of what can be lost when you lose the ability to be hopeful and honest to yourself. A raw and relevant piece from the dominant voice of Kate Tempest, performed with clever conviction and effective wit, ‘Wasted’ is a piece to be remembered.

Stage Manager- Amber Cole Pendrey

Assistant Stage Manager- Julie Braithwaite

 

Interview Jukebox Collective

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With the exciting news that Jukebox Collective have recently become a new Regularly Funded Organisation funded by Arts Council Wales. As well as supporting their young dancers to perform in Groove on Down the Road at the Wales Millennium Centre. Young Critics Wales project coordinator Guy O’Donnell caught up with Liara Barussi, Company Director and Zoe Munn, Development Manager to discuss the companies past present and future plans.

 Hi both, thanks for taking the time to chat,  firstly can you tell me about the background of Jukebox Collective?

Jukebox Collective is a creative company based in Cardiff, focused on the delivery of the highest quality street dance education, performance and consultancy. The creation of Jukebox in 2004 was a reflection of the increase in demand, as well as the need to provide an outlet for some of the most talented young dancers in the UK.  Over 10 years since its creation, we still keep the core emphasis on nurturing fresh young talent up to professional level, as well as producing high-class work for stage and screen.

The Jukebox mission statement is – “Founded on the principle of excellence in street dance being a right for all, our mission is to inspire, create and educate through street dance and hip hop culture”.

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Thanks I wonder if you can tell us how you apply this in practice?

We apply this through the development of a multi-strand approach: Participate, Theatre, Creative Services and The Academy. The approach developed is based on a deep knowledge of the dance forms taught with a growing understanding of the different avenues for dance. By bridging the gap between community and professional work, we provide the platform to support talent from grassroots through to professional. We continue to work with respected industry artists to inspire dancers and support our vision of excellence and education being accessed by all.

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The company has its own premises and has held events like the Social Saturday’s can you tell us more about the intention behind these events?

Jukebox is all about sharing and exchanging dance, and these events are needed to create a sense of community within what we do. It’s important to keep an open door and have free public events so that anyone can access what we do.  We want to get people together, to enjoy and exchange, to have fun and to explore something different. We want people to leave with memorable experiences and a taste of what dance can bring to them. These events allow us to reach out to new people, introduce dance styles that may be unfamiliar, and to showcase that street dance forms are a vibrant and vital part of the cultural narrative and to local communities. The get together’s are also a chance to encourage collaboration between dancers as well as with other art forms.

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Liara you and Jukebox Collective have been very involved in the annual Breakin’ the Bay Weekend at the Wales Millennium Centre. It appears the WMC have been very supportive of Hip Hop culture. I wonder could you tell us more about your relationship with the WMC and involvement in this event?

Yes, I have been involved in curating the festival since its creation, over 10 years ago. We support Breakin’ the Bay to enable the Welsh dance community to become internationally recognised, as well as educating, inspiring and connecting them with other dancers across the world. This year we focused on sourcing some of the freshest national & international talent in Europe including dancers from France, Switzerland, Germany, Holland & Sweden. Jukebox’s reach on the International Hip Hop scene has attracted dancers from around the world to spectate and participate in the annual event. It’s the perfect opportunity to celebrate Hip Hop culture and all its diversity and bring it to the center of Wales. This year we also introduced a new “Experimental’ category, not only specific to this event but to the local dance community. This was very exciting and showcased a dynamic approach to street dance fusion.

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Arts Council England have invested funding in Breakin Convention which takes place at Sadler’s Wells and companies such as Zoo Nation to support their touring. We note that Jukebox company members have just been involved in Zoo Nations ‘Groove on Down the Road’ (which also forms part of Cardiff Dance Festival) at the WMC 13-22 Nov. Could you tell us more about your involvement in this performance?

It’s great to see not only Arts Council England but also the theatre venues across the UK welcoming street dance and making it available to mainstream audiences.  The involvement gives further opportunities to local youth to develop professionally and consider a career in street dance theatre. The Groove on Down the Road production features Jukebox Collective dancers – Jo-el Bertram, Shakira Ifill playing ‘Little Wiz’, and Renee Brito playing ‘Wicked Witch of the West’. We are delighted to participate and work in collaboration with Zoo Nation.

Arts Council Wales have recently named Jukebox as a Regularly Funded Organisation, congratulations! Can you tell us what led the company to apply?

Thank you! We applied as we felt with the support of ACW we could collaboratively grow the organisation to its full potential. Becoming a Regularly Funded Organisation provides us with more opportunity to produce creative work and to realise initiatives that support and celebrate talented creatives. We will also be able to plan further ahead and work more strategically. We are looking forward to developing this partnership and creating some fresh new work.

Your work supports a wide demographic of participants, I wonder if you think your organisation works with young creatives who wouldn’t otherwise be engaged in mainstream arts in Wales?

Yes, absolutely, we attract a diverse group of participants with our programs, and continue to have a point of view that talks to all people, regardless of location, gender, race and income. We are able to relate to a diverse group of people and cultures through their shared common interests. This commitment to equality and diversity is at the heart of all the work we do.

Welsh Assembly Government culture minister Ken Skates has been supportive of your company, Liara could you tell us more about your relationship?

The progressive discussion that the Minister is encouraging is very exciting, and the support really highlights the progression of our arts community in Wales. We are seeing the Senedd opening up to hear younger voices in the arts, and I’m very excited to be a newly appointed member of the Welsh Government’s Arts and Creativity Forum.

  What are the long term plans for Jukebox?

We will focus on creating and expanding our dance Academy as well as continuing to produce compelling high quality dance productions. We want to keep creating opportunities and working closely with the local community, as well as touring professional work, and creating bespoke work for special events and campaigns. We are keen to support the development of young creatives in all aspects of performing arts. We want to work with local businesses and form partnerships to support all the strands of our work, aiming to build a healthy, sustainable company.

My aim with the creative work is to build a collective of dancers who develop a language that can be pushed to the very edges of expressive, aesthetic and visual possibility. I want to make collaborative work that pushes the language of dance to new, deeper levels – exploring the edges of possibility through movement and expression.

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And finally how do I find out more if I want to get involved?

To get involved in any strand of the company, from professional development and performance or just for fun, if you have collaboration in mind or would just like to hear more about our work, you can contact zoe@jukeboxcollective.com.

Keep a look out for our new website, which will be launching in January 2016.

www.jukeboxcollective.com

Review Parallel Lines, Dirty Protest by Kiera Sikora

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Photo credit Kirsten McTernan Photography & Design 

Honesty is severe. We desire it and we require it, we recognise that it is some thing that we always need. But as soon as it’s not what we want, we despise it. We just can’t win, can we?

Dirty Protest bring to Chapter Arts Centre a fantastic 90 minute revamp of their already acclaimed ‘Parallel Lines’ which executes an impulsively precise look at how two colliding worlds affect each other. Playwright Katherine Chandler, through her freshly updated script, allows us to see how a longing for affection affects opposing worlds and the individuals in them in a very witty Welsh manner.

Nothing is hidden. These two worlds are projected right in front of you throughout the whole piece with the cast present on stage, before, during and after their scenes. There’s a clear sense of consistent colliding consciences.

Catherine Paskell’s very slick, precise, physical direction of the piece creates a fighting contrast with the stress, pain and uncertainty that the characters feel throughout. Their movements are thoughtful and are elegantly highlighted by Joe Fletcher’s sharp lighting design and equally supported by Dan Lawrence’s eerie sound scape, together creating a pathway into the minds of the characters and their sole situations.

The stage homes very little set, just a table and few chairs which echoes that idea of loneliness and lack of nurture. But the constant presence of this collision between these two very different lifestyles fills the stage with all that you need to feel their thoughts and experience their dilemmas. The characters’ complexity allows you to empathise with their situations while the careful pace of the piece allows you time to detach yourself from their spoken words, in order for you to see the paranoia that exists beyond the language.

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Photo credit Kirsten McTernan Photography & Design

Paskell’s vision lets us explore the baggage that comes with power, class and truth and how we react to uncertainty, isolation and our own versions of normality. The relationship between Jan Anderson as the wayward mother Melissa and Lowri Palfrey as her daughter Steph is one that you can’t help but enjoy and dislike they allow you to laugh and pity them, without asking for either reaction. While Gareth Pierce as Simon and Sara Lloyd-Gregory as Julia are the corrupted and obscurely humorous couple who implore you to recognise the devastation that follows accusations and doubt while also reminding us how important it is to say your P’s and Q’s and park your car considerably.

Throwing away the previous script and starting a fresh two years on with the challenge of it being as real and as relevant as before is a one that would take being beyond brave to do. But, I’ve got to be honest playwright Katherine Chandler and Dirty Protest did it!  The play is intense, indulgent and intuitive. It feels familiar and it embodies a social situation at a raw and original level.

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Photo credit Kirsten McTernan Photography & Design

So if you enjoy beautifully written Welsh wit and a story that you can believe then you know where to go. It’s honest, it’s funny and it’s inclusive best get going.

Dirty Protest’s first ever tour of ‘Parallel Lines’ continues at Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff until 24th October. They then move onto: Pontardawe Arts Centre on October 28th, Aberystwyth Arts Centre on October 30th Galeri, Caernarfon on October 31st, Soar Centre, Treorchy on 2nd November Ffwrnes, Llanelli on 4th November. And finally, Theatr Hafren, Newtown on November 6th

You’d be crackers to miss it.

 

Review Yuri August 012 by Kaitlin Wray

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Who is Yuri?……

This main theme ran throughout the whole show. Conversely even though the theme shows uncertainty and tension, August012 brought this play to life. This highly entertaining and comedic show was perfect for what I needed, to sit back and just have a good laugh. The story depicts a couple who are unable to get pregnant. Then, Yuri appears into their lives, but who is Yuri?……

The chemistry between the three actors is perfect and while each of them had strong stage presence, they don’t take over from each other. Carys Eleri, playing Adele, proved her diverse talent as she showed us a woman who can go from being ditsy, to alluring and then to completely crazy. Carys’ character was strong throughout and she was a pleasure to watch. Ceri Murphy, playing Patrick, is generally the only sane one throughout the whole performance, trying to understand what is going on. His struggles of trying to get to grips with who Yuri is, and trying to calm down Adele is very amusing to watch. His audience interaction was hilarious and he lured us in completely. Saying all that, the dynamics with both Adele’s and Patrick’s characters towards Yuri was the most entertaining to watch. Guto Wynne Davies, playing Yuri, didn’t say anything for 3/4 of the show but was fascinated on his balloon, and at the word ‘raffle’. Even though his character lacked in words, he wasn’t the less amusing to watch.

The comedic timing in this show was perfect throughout, it was evident that they spent hour upon hour making sure everything was in sync. The aesthetics of the performance were equally incredible, the set, the sound and the lighting were all well thought out and planned and they even added little perks by using silver confetti to represent water. However, even though this is a naturally funny show, there is still that one lingering question that will stay with you. Who is Yuri?….

This is a show that is enjoyable, pleasing to the eye and leave’s you walking out of the auditorium feeling glad to have experienced it.

Review Iliad NTW by Brian Roper

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A guest review by 3rd Act Critic Brian Roper

ILIAD.

National Theatre Wales

Ffwrnes Theatre, Llanelli, 26 September 2015A bright autumn day in Llanelli grew even brighter as National Theatre Wales’ marathon production of the Iliad opened to an enthusiastic audience.

But there was something else going on that day. At 10.00 am the town was already buzzing with match-day fever as the first pints were evident and on Stryd Stepney, Max and Cerys belted out the old tunes. How would art fare in competition with rugby in this hotbed of the game? Rather well as it turned out.

In four parts this ancient tale was always likely to be epic, but it was never boring.

Directors Pearson and Brookes have previous, (Coriolanus, The Persians), and this multi-media staging of Logue’s War Music, itself derived from Homer’s account of the end of the Trojan War, is up there.

As you would expect the sound is compelling, always haunting it was at times almost wistful but the potential for bellicosity and pent-up violence was always present.

The projections range from largely static landscapes (in Wales?) which, whilst charming, seemed to be a long way from the Eastern Mediterranean and video headshots of local teenagers playing Gods.

A team of six narrators carried the three hundred pages of poetry with aplomb, all were convincing. Daniel Hawksford made a strong early showing and Richard Lynch grew into his roles but Melanie Walters stood out with her diction and accents and her acting through gesture and her facial projection.

The use of teleprompters restricted dramatic potential to the use of the upper body and engendered a sense of “talking heads” which diverted the attention of the audience away from the action and on to the screen, it seemed a bit like talking with friends in a pub with the TV on and finding that the usual dynamic cannot be established. Such an approach demands good tone and timbre in the voice and clear diction and enunciation which was provided on a consistent basis but the strongest effects came when the cast performed in choirs, as in the death of the bull sequence which was deeply moving.

The language conveyed the message. The elision of the ancient (7th century B.C.) and the modern and of the catastrophic and continuing threat of war, conflict and displacement, was conveyed admirably and the references to “helicopters”, ”privatise”, ”Australia” and “curly-girlie hair” could have disorientated, but did not.

NTW is good at sets and settings.The opened floor of the Ffwrnes theatre was a blank page and the weight of the production therefore fell on the set.

Think Kwikfit tyre bay meets a clearance sale at the garden centre.

I never appreciated how many uses plastic stacking chairs could be put to.

At its best it was outstanding, occasionally it was prosaic and sometimes it was plain irritating.

Building the set as you go along invites the audience to care and to share in the process and whilst some of the effects, like the raising of giant blooms on tripods were certainly dramatic, in the manner of raising the US flag on Iwo Jima, they also seemed to be rather pointless and distracting.

Audience engagement also involved being ushered around the space to make way for yet another “construction”, the audience becoming the set and, more welcomingly for the chosen few, being invited to lie down and play dead.

The marathon was sold out and as part four started the England v Wales rugby game kicked off. But the “literati”, as I heard us being described by a passing rugby fan (who must himself have been somewhat literate) were loyal to the cause. I recognised many who had been there at 10.30 that morning.

I asked our National Poet, Gillian Clark, for her opinion, she said” Tonight was so inspiring…it showed such respect for language…this was the NTW at its best.”

It was a marathon and it was epic. The concluding sound-scene with hunting horn and battle drums stayed with me as I scurried away from the theatre not wishing to overhear the rugby score, and made my way home on the M4, without the radio on, for the same reason. The sound of battle and desolation and of loss is with me now.

This was not just drama. It was arresting and compelling, a ”must-experience” experience.

The standing ovation was testimony to the power of this production and to the tenacity of the audience and I was delighted to be with them.

 

 

 

 

 

Brian Roper

27/09/2015

 

Review Blud Other Mother, The Other Room by Shannon Newman

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Photograph Credit Pallasca Photography

Usually you wouldn’t associate football hooliganism with anything other than chavs and cheap thrills, but Blud goes beyond these initial prejudices, questioning loyalty and our need to belong – whether that’s to someone or something.

These are the key themes that are veiled under the supposed cult of football. What really matters to these characters is loyalty and finding a place in a society that renders you utterly powerless – which is precisely what the characters struggle with. Thus, Blud conveys football as a rite of passage into social mobility and ready-made identities, and eloquently so.

It takes some skills, for a writer and actors, to present a character that’s so immoral and yet so loveable. Yet thats what writer Kelly Jones and actors Francesca Marie Claire and Olivia Elsden do.

The stage directions – simple in action, though deeper in meaning, and therefore it goes without saying that you’d need to concentrate to fully appreciate the full extent of what they’re conveying.

It’s refreshing to see a theatre production that touches on such contemporary issues in a gritty, but wholly realistic manner.

This is theatre without the sugar coating, and that’s why we need it.

Review Ti.Me Cwmni Pluen by Kaitlin Wray

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Cwmni Pluen company presents Ti.Me, a performance that symbolised the worlds greatest universal language, love. It was a representation of what it’s like to fall in love, to be in love and then when love deteriorates. Through the construction of physicalisation, live music and spoken language the company infused deep symbolisation with comedy.

Directors Elgan Rhys and Gethin Evans devised this piece with performers Heledd Gwynn and Alan Humphreys. Together they had 2 weeks to create a performance, and from watching it, it felt like it was months of hard work. The piece was original yet relatable to every person who’s ever been in a relationship.

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The company in rehearsals

One of the main aspects that struck  me was the use of the English and Welsh language during the production. Heledd’s character was fluent in Welsh where as Alan’s wasn’t. When Heledd was frustrated she would speak in Welsh, therefore Alan’s character didn’t have a clue what she was saying. This was an interesting way to portray the lack of communication between them. Furthermore the physical language between them shone out. When they were deeply in love they would be breathing simultaneously together, conversely, when they were having problems they would be out of sync with each other. This simple method was powerful to watch as they would be pretending to each other that everything was fine, when everyone in the audience could see that it wasn’t.

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Performers Heledd Gwynn and Alan Humphreys

What made this piece stand out to me even more was the use of live music, composed by Chris Young. He used synthesisers to create music out of everyday sounds. The physical aspects of the piece wouldn’t have evoked as much emotion without the music. They go completely in hand.

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Composer Chris Young

This piece was emotional, hilarious and mesmerising to watch. The performers interacted together so perfectly that you would think they were actually a couple. It was a piece full of truthfulness and it would be a shame if you missed out on it.

The production can be seen at Galeri Caernarfon on the 18th of this month

http://www.galericaernarfon.com/digwyddiadau/manylion-digwyddiad.php?eventKey=2054