Tag Archives: Chapter Arts Centre

Review The Red Turtle by Jonathan Evans

Young Critic Jonathan Evans used Spice Time Credits to access this performance at Chapter cinema. He earned the Time Credits reviewing for Get the Chance.

“What is a man? If his chief good and market of his time
Be but to sleep and feed? A beast, no more.”

William Shakespeare, Hamlet.

4 Stars4 / 5
The Red Turtle is the kind of movie that doesn’t get made often. A movie that exists, sure of what it is and never attempts to explain itself.

I couldn’t even tell you what the “target demographic” for the movie is. It’s an animated movie, typically for children, but there’s nothing cute or funny happening, nothing scary or brutal either so not specifically for adults. Could this just be a movie for people?

The plot for this movie is so minimal. Man wakes on a shore and finds that he is stranded on an island. What does he do then? Survive and try to get back to civilisation. He tries building a raft but it keeps getting destroyed by a large red turtle (hence the title). This leads to other things and eventually he is joined by a woman and then a son comes along.

This movie exists without any spoken words of dialogue, only movements and images. The lead gives off the occasional huff and puff and a scream here and there, but no full words. This means that the visuals have to ring with absolute clarity, whatever the Man is doing or where he is has to be immediately obvious. Without the dialogue it must fall on the sound and music to keep us engaged on the audio level. Every swish of the waves, footsteps on sand or rock is perfectly clear and adjusted to the right level. Laurent Perez Del Mar delivers an emotional and at other times ethereal score that infuses itself so well with the images onscreen that the two harmonise in the most beautiful way.

The drawing style, particularly with the people, is more European. Like the works of Herge, thick, clear lines with black dots for eyes and vivid colours. The animation is constantly smooth and on-model. It is the backgrounds that have sharpest rendering to them, we are able to see every leaf on the trees and plants that grow on the ground as well as seeing way into the background.

This movie, I admit, a challenge to write for. It is so simple, to experience the product is the most thrilling part but to deeply describe it is indeed the challenge. It simply operates at such a minimal, smooth passe.

Who is this movie for? What was it’s purpose? Well it was beautiful and technically very impressive. But who exactly do I think the marked for it is and how to promote it? But maybe we don’t always need that from this medium that can deliver us so much. Maybe sometimes we are allowed to sit back and see and hear a journey and simply be moved by it.

Review Lightning Path | Llwybr Mellt, Chapter Arts Centre by Kathryn Lewis

Lightning Path | Llwybr Mellt combines skilled puppetry with beautiful animated projections and original music, to tell a tale of our times. Ella wonders why her family farm is flooding. Her Grandfather worries about eels not coming up the river anymore. On a magical journey with Harri the flying hare to changing landscapes across the world. Ella meets curious creatures and people that help her learn new ways of understanding and caring.

Kathryn  : “I went to see Lightning Path|Llwybr Mellt from Small World Theatre with my two daughters; aged 10 and 12 at Chapter Arts Centre Cardiff. Going in to the theatre we were asked to sit near the front, which immediately proved how British everyone was, not wanting to sit next to anyone else, when there was the space to leave gaps. We were faced with three trunks on stage in front of a screen. My daughter asks why, I explain there will be a mixture of puppetry and animation.

We are initially surprised when we discover the performers were already on stage, which causes some giggling from behind us. We are introduced to the characters. Some of the audience is confused when Harri the hare starts talking in Welsh. When Harri speaks, Ella repeats his message in English, but while it seems obvious to the adults in the audience that she is acting as translator, not all the children seem to get it. Ella also sang in Welsh, without translation. Although I don’t personally speak Welsh, I thought it was a meaningful attempt at making an inclusive, bilingual piece, but it made the dialogue seem bulky. Having to translate Harri constantly, slowed it and made it word heavy. I wondered if doing it in one language at a time might have helped it flow better, or finding a different way to translate the two languages. (Obviously words on a screen wouldn’t have worked for everybody, due to the age of most of the audience). This production was signed too, which I thought was great, and I could see the benefit of this for some of the audience members.

The story told of Ella and her Grandfather, the flooding and the lack of eels. This led Ella and Harri to travel the world in search of the missing eels, which then led her to the realisation that “Man” was to blame for ice melting in the Arctic, trees being felled in the rainforest, desertification, and plastic in the oceans. I felt the story tried to fit a lot in to an hour piece, it felt very full and a little rushed, with the music and animation being a welcome break in the speed.

The puppetry was very well done, especially the movement of the hare, I enjoyed the shadow puppetry on screen, and how they mixed it with animation, and the basic set changes using the trunks, fabric, and lighting. The use of torches to show the eels, included the audience, and again got the attention of those young children who were finding the hour more of a struggle.

I left feeling like it was a work in progress in terms of the dialogue/story. This was because it felt a little rushed trying to fit in so much information,  introduce so many characters, and environments and explain the ecological issues. Then how this linked in with the eels, and all the while translating Harri’s input, in an hour show. I almost wanted Ella and Harri’s story about learning about the environment to be introduced more simply, and her curiosity to be enough. The background story of her grandfather, the cow, the eels and the lightning, explained why Ella was curious, because she could see the environmental impact in her own back yard. It inspired her to find out more, and, after her trip, inspired her to do something about it, but this almost felt like a whole separate story. Ella asked her grandfather to plant trees to stop their land flooding, this may have encouraged younger children to think about what their influence can be or what they can do, especially with the vivid imagery of the sea turtle and the plastic in the ocean.

It was easy to see how much work and artistry had gone into this production. I think that the hour length was perfect for the very young audience, but personally think that the dialogue could have been edited down.”

Sylvia (12) : “It was good in some parts, but quite boring in others. I liked the animation on the screen and the way they used the props. I would recommend it for children below the age of 10. I liked the way they talked about saving the planet, but they could have made it easier to understand.”

Charli (10) : “I think it was quite boring because I couldn’t really understand it. I think it would be good for kids younger than me. It also encourages people not to throw rubbish everywhere.”

 

BSL, Subtitled Video review, You’ve Got Dragons by Taking Flight Theatre Company performed at Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff reviewed by Steph Back.

A BSL subtitled video review of You’ve Got Dragons by Taking Flight Theatre Company performed at Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff reviewed by Steph Back.

Production information

“A delightful tale of one child’s journey to come to terms with their dragons, told in Taking Flight’s unique style. With toe-tapping music, this highly visual, sensitive production is a humorous and touching exploration of the ‘dragons’ we all face.
A fully accessible intergenerational show featuring creative captioning, BSL and audio description it is a treat for all the family … and remember ‘no dragon is more powerful than YOU’!”

F.E.A.R. by Mr & Mrs Clark, a review by Helen Joy

F.E.A.R.

An autobiographical tour of the constructed fear that society, religion and family place onto young shoulders.

Mr & Mrs Clark

There is someone in front of me who is bored, who doesn’t like it. There is much loud huffing and shrugging. But as far as I can tell, everyone else is in thrall to this captivating performance. Most of us are about the same age as Mr Clark and he is describing us. To a tee.

These are our fears too. Nostalgia and angst. Nuclear war and homemade bunkers. Overhead cables and safety belts. Clunk click. Superman y-fronts and God.

Being watched, getting a proper job, having sex, getting AIDS, getting a girl pregnant, not having children, having a mortgage, taking drugs and dancing. Hair, too much in the ears, too little on the head. Farting. Weeing. Keeping it in. Keeping it up.

God, this is so uncomfortable, so perfectly awkward as we confront the identities of our public information inspired youth and our middle age of worry.

It is inclusive – we want to bop about with him on his dance floor, we don’t want to admit to being the 1 in 3 who voted to keep immigrants out, we want to relax into our group hug. We remember terrorism then and now, we remember war, then and now. Why would you want to join the army? Get a proper job. Put your hand up if you have taken an AIDS test.

We all hide in our masks – our crocodile facade, we feel responsible for everything bad in the world and wonder constantly how we are still here, how we didn’t catch diseases from loo seats and get run over by trains. But we are being watched by God, by Jesus, by cameras, by the internet. Brilliant.

This is brilliant. It is funny, challenging, difficult, joyous, hard viewing. Mr C’s eye contact is hard to return. We feel guilty, the collective conscience of the ‘70s.

FEAR. And the really clever bit is its accessibility. Signed and spoken as part of the production, not something outside of it. This is most properly inclusive and even better for it.

Maybe we have learned something after all. It is these children who became the adults who changed our social makeup, who challenged the divisions between sexuality and race and class and ability, who invited everyone to join in, who broke the boundaries we inherited.

Perhaps FEAR is not always such a bad thing. I wonder what that man in front of me was really feeling.

 

4 stars

 

Project Details

Directed by: Agnieszka Blonska Performed by Gareth Clarkcroc

 

BSL Review (F.E.A.R) A Mr & Mrs Clark production at Chapter Arts Centre by Stephanie Back

Please find below a transcript of the BSL review of (F.E.A.R.) performed by Gareth Clark at Chapter Arts Centre.

Hello my name is Steph. I’m a member of Get The Chance and I am now going to review a performance called (F.E.A.R.) This was performed by an actor called Gareth Clark, focusing on his fears, in society and the differences in this growing up from child to adult.

I arrived at Chapter Arts Centre where the performance was happening. I had been here before so knew what it was like and where I was going so it felt quite relaxed. I went to the desk and asked to pick up my ticket; there was a bit of a communication break down because the lady did not understand me but I wrote it down and it was all okay.

I then went to find the performance space. It looked interesting with big red letters at the back spelling out the word fear. There was a man sat next to this in a crocodile mask, looked good and a bit scary!

I noticed from the start that Alastair,Sill who was audio describing the piece was sat in the audience a couple of seats across from me. I know from previous performances the AD has been hidden in a box behind the scenes and the blind or VIP audience members can access this though headsets. I appreciated that the audio describing was not hidden away and that (apart from the Deaf obviously!) all the audience had access to this.

At the start of the piece Tony Evans who was the BSL interpreter let us know he would be moving. I have been to many performances before where the interpreter is placed to the side of the stage and you have to look back and forth in order to access this. I thought this will be interesting to see how this works. It was really clear. And really easy to follow. It was clear it had been well planned and thought out. There was even a moment where Tony put his hand over Gareth’s mouth and it was nice to see this interaction between the character and the interpreter. This relationship worked really well and benefitted the performance. I felt more part and more included in the performance because of this.

The match between the interpreter and performer also worked really well. The age was similar, look was similar and the portrayal of emotion matched up much better. Because they grew up around the same time this similar experience they had added to the performance. If for example it had been a young woman interpreter the story would have come across much differently.

Seeing both the actor and interpreter on stage also highlighted that (F.E.A.R.) although experienced differently for each person, is the same as a concept overall. Added a sense of uniting it for all.

At the start, I found I didn’t believe the character portrayal of a child as much as I did the different ages shown throughout the rest of the performance. I am not sure why but it was perhaps because I couldn’t emphasise with the facial expressions or they seemed a little fake in reaction to the fear with the over put on smile.. Having said this from teenage upwards I felt like I could well and truly emphasise with this character. It was like there was this barrier that was destroyed in front of us. There was a sudden onslaught of his experiences and an honest, open dialogue that could make him seem vulnerable to the audience. He said that society told him that it was bad to have sex because he will get a person pregnant at 16 and life will be ruined. And then he asked; what do I do then about this aching in his balls with the natural urge to have sex. That felt so honest and open. And being told that by society is something that I was told too. From there I trusted him so much more because it felt like there were no secrets in that room. The fear was exposed.

After the performance I talked to the Interpreter and audio describer about the performance and they mentioned how access had not been an afterthought. It had been planned and budgeted into the performance. This is really rare. A lot of the time they are brought in last minute and told GO! But it was so clear that access had been thought about and it so much more a better performance because of this.

One thought to improve is that it was unclear at the start as to why the scene remained exactly the same with nobody moving for about two minutes. I understood afterwards from asking that this was due to allow time for the AD to set the scene. It would have been good to let the Deaf audience know beforehand that this would happen so it is not so confusing when nothing is happening for a while. I feel there could have also been more audience interaction, I know there was some but a bit more to encourage the audience to think more about their own fears perhaps.

To conclude. I really enjoyed the performance and really appreciate how much the access was thought about. I felt I could connect so much more to the piece because of this.

Thanks you for watching.

http://www.chapter.org/fear

Review: Babulus, Gwyn Emberton and ilDance by Helen Joy

Babulus

4 Stars

Tower of Babel, says a friend next to me.

 Communication, that’s what it’s about, she says, all the different ways of communicating.

 I’m not sure about the bear, I find the bear creepy. Oh, she says, I like the bear.

Did you like the dance as a whole? Oh yes, mesmerising. I like going to things with you, I see things I wouldn’t otherwise see.

I see things I wouldn’t otherwise see. This is one of them for me too.

 

I was facilitating art classes last week with older people in hospitals and care homes and one of them, Brian, was unable to speak or hear. Don’t worry, the nurse said, he will make you understand him. And he did. Brian painted flowers, big colourful flowers. We chatted with our hands, our faces and our paint. We did not need to use our voices. It was a dance between two people.

Babulus is a dance between five people, one of whom is a bear now and again. A bizarre, fluffy, comedic yet sentient and sympathetic character to foil the darker elements of tied hands and closed mouths. I still found it creepy. The clown in the classroom, the slapstick to the poignant. I realise that this is just me – everyone else loved the softer element, the balance, the reference to a childhood toy. I still have my Bear, he sleeps with me still and he is my most valuable possession so I do get it, I get the thinking, I just don’t like it until I watch her loose a dancer’s bonds, quietly, softly.

But the dance itself? Oh it is superb. The dancers come together, push apart, come together, push apart using movement, chatter, language, sticky tape, song and light. They are beautifully choreographed, they are beautifully lit. It is mesmerising. There are two themes I particularly like: the holding of hands over each other’s mouths; and the bunching together babbling in their mother tongues. I like that they emerge from behind us, that they make eye contact with us, that they threaten us and engage with us. They laugh with us too.

It is the dance between two people, one with his hand over her mouth with her twisting away to speak, that I will remember most – they roll into and over each other in a balletic, deceptive, controlling, power struggle. I wish I could see this again and again. It called to me.

It is also one of the best after show discussions I have ever attended. The performers, dancers, are as engaging vocally as they have been throughout their piece. Clever, open, responsive to their audience, they are indeed communicating at all levels. Not babbling at all, really.

 

Event:                   Bablulus

Seen:                    1930, 17th February, 2017

Reviewer:            Helen Joy for 3rd Act Critics

Running:               Friday 17 February – Saturday 18 February

Cost :                    Tickets: £12/£10; Age 11+

Running time: approx. 50mins  

Links:     http://www.chapter.org/babulus

Production:         Gwyn Emberton and ilDance collaboration

Music:                  Oscar Collin

Lighting and design:         Joe Fletcher

Direction:            Sara Lloyd

Babulus was created and toured with the support of Arts Council Wales, Gothenburg International Theatre and Dance Festival, The Work Room, Wales Arts International, Göteborg Stad, Västra Götalandsregionen, NDCWales, Ballet Cymru, Balettakademien Stockholm, Konstnärsnämnden, and Arts Promotion Centre Finland.

Review : A Regular little Houdini by Beth Clark

5 Stars5 / 5

 

An exciting and turbulent story of a boy who is born in Wales but comes from Irish decent. He is part of a large working class family who all live under one roof.

Set in the heart of Newport’s South Wales’ busting docks, the actor Daniel Llewelyn-Williams; impressively also the writer of the play gets your full attention from the out by representing a real, personal and historical account of how things were back then. An imaginative and determined boy who displays extreme courage whilst being subject to one of the many catastrophic occurrences which unfortunately happened during the British industrial revolution.

Harry Houdini; very famous of the times was a direct influence and inspiration to the boy promoting a hopeful and escaping duality for him. When some aspects of the boy’s life have been shattered another aspect or dream is materialised. Quirky and fun-loving, the boy’s relationship with Gammy as well as his dad, sisters and friend is something that brings a warming feel to the boy’s character and overall feel of the play.
Daniel played the one man show so intriguingly, it was like he was telling the story as his own and I wondered if this was in fact a real story from his family’s history. Who knows? Honestly, it was that good it certainly felt real and I would strongly advise anyone to go and see the play regardless of a specific style of play you might like, as I believe this play ticks all the boxes. There was absolutely no time whatsoever in that hour that I thought of anything other than the play, the characters or their feelings and perspectives. The actor was completely captivating and with reference to lots of welsh-ness, I found it relatable and moving but not only because I am Welsh as I believe anyone will feel this way. Even though the play does have heartache, the joy it brings overpowers that completely making it a pleasure to watch. The fact that you are drawn to other characters in the story with only one actor representing all characters is infatuating for the audience. It was directed, written, composed and performed to a such a high and entertaining standard that I would absolutely go and view it for a second time.

In my eyes when you can hold an audience with just one man and a box to that standard you are winning in life. Well done Daniel Llewelyn-Williams you smashed it!

A Regular little Houdini
Produced by Flying Bridge Theatre Ltd
Written and performed by Daniel Llewelyn-Williams
Directed by Joshua Richards
Music by Meg C

Review ‘The Giant Who Had No Heart In His Body’ by Gemma Treharne-Foose

giant

4 Stars4 / 5

There’s a reason why people are reluctant to sit in the front row.  Expect to be picked on, called out or even become part of the show!

This was my first time to see a family production at Chapter apart from their regular family film Saturdays – a favourite of mine and my little ‘mini me’ Lili, age 7.  This was also the first time for Lil to accompany me on a trip to see a show I was reviewing.

We are greeted in the theatre by Dot (played by Hazel Anderson) and Aggie (Ellen Groves), who immediately strike a chord with the kids in the audience.

The set is whimsical and dreamy, there are washing lines with wind chimes and floaty plastic bags gently blowing in the breeze. There are fishermen’s nets lit with icy blue fairy lights. There is an ethereal and robotic soundtrack, creating the feeling that we are definitely somewhere else.

I’m not sure if we are in an inventor’s workshop or an art studio. I know that just watching those floaty bags swishing in the dimly lit studio immediately put me at ease despite there being around a hundred kids behind me – and this is a rare feeling for me!

img_4700

Anderson and Groves play the part of Dot and Aggie, two ladies with a special mission: to collect and gather as many stories as possible from their dream platform on the sky. It’s been a couple of hundred days since their last story was gathered.  Somewhere along the way and I have no idea where, as engrossed as I was in the story – they swallow an item that makes them become storyTELLERS instead of story gatherers.

They set upon a mission to meet a giant, who needs his heart back so that all order can be re-instated. The story is based on an old Norwegian tale, which it turns out is a lot more complicated and multifaceted than this pared-down devised creation.

In this story, Dot and Aggie beg, steal and borrow from everyday items and old nick-nacks to move the story along. Stories are ‘hoovered up’ in disco-lit tubes and deposited in tin cans, crows are created with a tatty umbrella, miniature characters are created using a sponge and a tin can. The giant is conjured up using a couple of white bed sheets and some poles with rubber gloves on the end.

This is no-frills theatre, but with pure champagne ideas. It is imaginative and fun to the core, but what makes this a production really worth watching is the sheer exuberance and hilarity of Anderson and Groves.

It’s clear they have cleverly crafted this tale, injected it with a few madcap extras and sprinkled a whole load of Christmas fun on top.

The improvised asides and lines come thick and fast, there are mishaps on stage (arms fall off the little characters, costumes getting tangled up) and the energy and fun of the two during the performance is completely contagious.

This is not a kid’s play where the actors talk to you in a high pitched voice and coddle your special little snowflakes.

These two have sass and plenty of it. The comic interaction of this duo reminded me of French and Saunders, with a side order of Victoria Wood and a sprinkle of ‘Smack the Pony’.

I loved the joshing and piss-taking of traditional character types: ‘Me? Jump in this well? But I am a mere delicate waif maiden with a very floppy hand’. ‘Gee miss’, Dot’s character hams up with a strange gruff American twang, ‘Haven’t you ever heard of feminism’?

Kids in the audience belly laughed and roared, cheered on by the characters who played along brilliantly with all the interruptions. When the giant’s arms got tangled up on stage, I went up and tried to assist as best I could before giving up and sitting down.

The whole thing could have gone tits up from there, but they managed to recruit an ‘adult man’, who helped them untie the Giant’s arms and move the story along. ‘I’m glad we are filming THIS performance’, one of them quipped.

I always listen intently to others in the audience for snippets during the intervals/intermission. One Mum commented she thought some of the audience interaction bits (breaking the 4th wall, etc) were unnecessary in parts. I think the only lame ducks were some of the cheeseball ‘Dad jokes’ – ouch. But then you need some Dad jokes in a kid’s show I suppose – tradition and all that! 

fullsizerender

Keen to recruit a new mini reviewer, I’d asked mini me after leaving the show ‘Do you want to do a video review so all the other Mums and Dads can find out about the show and you can tell the actors what you thought?’ ‘Noooooooo!!!!’ she said firmly.  That was the end of my dream for my ‘Mommy and me live theatre review channel’.

However, I did persuade her that a written review would also be very welcome.  This struck a chord with her and she was keen to share her thoughts and her 5 star rating. She was delighted to be called out in the show – ‘What did you eat for breakfast?’ Ellen Groves’ character Aggie asked her.

‘Pancakes’, she responded. Later in the show, Aggie (dressed as the hilarious Giant) asks kids in the front row ‘Have a guess where my heart is buried…?’ before interrupting them and bellowing back ‘NO!’

She then turned to Lili and said ‘Oi…pancakes…what do you think?’ So Lili signed her note this evening ‘Love, Pancakes’. This may have been Lili’s first review but it was also a love letter from a theatre fan girl in the making.

When she got home, her first words when she saw her Dad were ‘DAD – You seriously missed out!’  Maybe next time, little one (and Dad can help hold up the giant’s arms!)

From Lili (hand-written review pictured above):

Wow! What a great show!!! I loved the creation.  I hope you do more shows like this. It was soooooo good. You acted great.  It was sooooo funny. The puppets were wonderful. I want to see it again! I wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy new year, from ‘Pancakes’. (5 stars)

Type of show: Theatre

Title: The Giant Who Had No Heart In His Body

Venue: Chapter Arts Centre

Dates: 19 December (Touring show)

Devised by:  Hazel Anderson & Ellen Groves

Directed by:  Hazel Anderson & Ellen Groves

Cast: Hazel Anderson (Dot) & Ellen Groves (Aggie)

Running time: Approx 1.5 hrs (includes interval)

Produced by Likely Story

Review ‘Love Steals us from Loneliness’ Chippy Lane Productions by Lauren Ellis-Stretch

 

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4 Stars4 / 5

 

With a whole-hearted fight for love, and the striving to live better, an undercurrent of anger surges. Love Steals us from Loneliness resonates with me. I know girls who have lost more than their sunglasses down Rest Bay, if you get what I mean. And the boys who take girls down Rest Bay. Teens wholly obsessed, as well as desperately dismissing of their own sexuality. But, I also know what it feels like to be stuck in a town where you have to actively try to ‘live’ to be heard, or validated… or at least feel that way.

‘Are you enjoying?’ A pleasant, South Walian, fifty-something woman assailed us with, in the interval. My friend, Richard, and I smirked. ‘Yes,’ we are teenagers, and we know more than you think. ‘A lot of swearing.’ (I raised my eyebrows.) ‘I saw another play by the guy who wrote this! Ahh what was his name?’…’Gary Owen’ (I smiled.) ‘Ohh yeah, love, that’s the one. And we went to go and watch that one … Ohh, well I call it I-fe-jean-ia in Splott!’ ‘Ohh yeah, Ef-i-gen-ia in Splott. ‘That’s what my fancy friend calls it!’ ‘Yeah, it was great.’ I can almost imagine that this is, somewhat, an interaction that Gary Owen, in a nod to its obstructive nature could have seamlessly written – much better than how it actually happened. An illustration of youth’s cockiness, and an honest, Welsh admission of self. Together disastrous; already displayed in the infamous events that puts Bridgend ‘a known shit-hole’ on the map. But, instead he wrote Love Steals us from Loneliness – which is more entertainingly profound.

‘A strop off’ on a shit night out, steaming. It’s a Friday night in Bridgend littered by ‘Townies’ and ‘Valley Commandos’. Gary Owen’s perceptiveness to the backwards little town is unique, exposing and admiring its culture and people for all their defensive and insecurity. Owen offers a reflection of a society that challenges and adheres to everything we know it to be – I think that’s what theatre should be. Always close to home, in some respect. But why, I need ask, is this teenage obsession with love permeating through a text disputing its very significance and authenticity? Actually, it’s probably because of the imprisonment, self-deprecation, and the belief in our own insignificance that Bridgend, and South Wales alike, breeds. But, no one’s ever quick to discuss that. Act 2 is a disjointed outburst of spiting and spluttering and biting. Melancholic, life-affirming joy – like the sun’s rays landing on piles of shit. Love Steals us from Loneliness is a beautiful two-hander about survival.

‘I’m about to make a bold statement.’ Now, normally Richard refrains from any form of judgement, or any (highly – in my experience) critical response until, at least, we’ve reached the carpark. He’s got manners, like. ‘That woman,’ he says, ‘just gave the best performance I have ever seen in my entire life.’ Emma Jane Goodwin was exceptional. Exhaustingly fuelled, anguished and unapologetic. Mags is someone we know. She is a Bridgend mum – we know them. The whole cast were captivating. Headed by the striking Evelyn Campbell squatting for a wee, and the standards didn’t slip.

Emma Bailey’s gaudy glam and desolate set design seamlessly encompasses the plays consciously empathetic adoration for its own characters. With a ‘karaoke stage’ and a platform for drunken conversations – Bridgend goes to Benidorm. But, with a stage littered by the debris of a truthful existence. It’s all revealed as just an ‘act’ of a ‘living’ that we try to create. In adolescence we try to tear everything down and in adulthood you try to hoist it back up, but it happens the other way around.

We should give our parents more credit. Mum, Dad we get why you stayed up with us from 2am-7am after that one night out. So, we get why you were angry about it – it wasn’t because you didn’t get any sleep. We’re not sorry, but thank you.

Time Credit earn & spend by Gemma Treharne-Foose, Community Critic for ‘Get the Chance’ Wales

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When I joined the ‘Get the Chance’ team (reviewing live theatre and performance as a network of ‘community critics’), I wasn’t fully aware I’d be getting Spice Time Credits in return and quite surprised to receive them! I had some previous awareness that Time Credits were something people got ‘out there in the community’ – perhaps for doing voluntary work at a local community project or initiative. I had no idea you could actually receive time credits for writing and reviewing live theatre. I hadn’t thought of myself as ‘volunteering my time’ as I already kind of felt like I had won the lottery doing something I loved doing anyway. If you are part of a wider conversation, helping to increase accessibility and creating more knowledge and awareness of the arts for all – you too are a volunteer, an ambassador and a cheerleader. You’re using your skills and strengths to break down barriers and act as a bridge between theatres and non-traditional or possibly first time theatre goers and I’m really glad that Spice recognises this.

The great thing about Spice is that they are a form of currency: a way of trading your time to get a sort of ‘passport’ to do the things you love. If money is an issue, this doesn’t matter, you can use time credits for anything from local leisure services to high-brow theatre. They can travel with you – I’m off to London on the Megabus next week. I may decide to spend the time credits I earned writing about Welsh theatre to take in a show at the Barbican with my hubby. I’m on a budget weekend, but I won’t let that stop me! Time Credits makes this possible and they’re recognised all over the UK, which is great! So far I have used my time credits to spend an afternoon with my daughter jumping and running wild at ‘Jump’ play centre in Llanishen and I’ve spent several lovely afternoons watching family movies in Chapter Arts Centre with my husband and little girl Lili. Writing about theatre may be ‘my thing’, but I love sharing the time credits with my family for fun (cheap!) afternoons out. They were really handy in the holidays when money was getting tight! Chapter Arts Centre is wonderful when it comes to booking tickets, very family friendly and relaxed. I also like the fact that there’s no in-your face aggressive marketing of overpriced snacks (Which can push your average cinema outings up to £50 or more for some families). Chapter even has a ‘no munching’ rule. You’re there for the movies and good vibes anyway, not stuffing your face full of crisps and chocolate (plus if you really need a feed: use the lovely Chapter cafe!). Quite a few times over the last few months, my family and I have driven to Chapter, parked for free, used our time credits to pay for a family movie then taken a walk in the park afterwards. You don’t need to spend big money to make memories, but it helps if you have a few time credits in your pocket!

http://www.justaddspice.org/get-involved/get-started-with-time-credits