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Review Miramar, Triongl By Gemma Treharne-Foose

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(3 / 5)

 

An Englishman’s home is his castle, so the saying goes. But what happens when your husband (quite literally) finds himself in the shit and croaks it thanks to his fondness for the horses, leaving you destitute and homeless?

Triongl’s devised production ‘Miramar’, explores what are quite madcap and surreal circumstances in a small, intimate domestic comedy. Valmai Jones perfectly plays the part of interfering and curmudgeonly Enid. Vulnerable and stubborn, she finds herself put up by her friend Myfanwy following her misfortune and is horrified to find herself at the age of 74 sleeping in the Arsenal-themed room of her friend’s Grandson. She’s forced to watch as part-time holiday home landlords strip her house of her possessions as they create their little Welsh minimalist haven. Welsh speakers will recognise the subtle (and not so subtle) references and nods to ongoing anxieties and concerns about second homes in Welsh speaking communities here. Triongl play on these scenarios, contrasting the home-spun familiarities and eccentricities of Welsh speaking communities with the somewhat square and distant characters of Miriam and Martin, the couple from Swindon who purchase Enid’s old house. There are language barriers, eye-rolls and asides to the audience as these are played out. Jones’ comic timing and tense/jerky body language are absolutely spot on.

Hilarity ensues when Miriam and Martin’s daughters show up unexpectedly to the house only to find that Enid (disguising herself as neighbour Myfanwy) has moved in. We are taken down a number of paths and alternative ‘this is what could have happened’ scenes as Enid tries to cover up her manipulation and excuses as she plays one sister off against another. Becoming embroiled in the sisters’ bickering and back-story, the tangled comedy culminates in a sweet ending which will tickle you pink.

Audience members who don’t speak Welsh may struggle to get the full meaning and richness of Enid’s monologues in Welsh but the production helpfully gives a ‘cheat sheet’ to audience members delivered at the start (in character) by Enid herself. So you can find out just what Enid means when she says ‘cachu’ (shit), ‘Ty haf’ (holiday home) and ‘di gartref’ (homeless). This production will capture your attention to the very end and Welsh speakers will (ironically) feel right at home with the observations and cross overs between English and Welsh, village and city, old and new and all the complexities that go with it.

For all the ‘funnies’ in the play, there’s a sober message, which was highlighted by a post-play talk by Shelter Cymru. 97% of its cases are related to cases like Enid’s, not just homelessness out on the streets, financial insecurity is on the rise and we are typically only two pay packets away from homelessness ourselves. Miramar reminds us that we all need a place to call our own and to feel secure; whether it’s a place with china dogs and pink throws or stripped floorboards and minimalism.

Type of show: Theatre
Title: Miramar
Venue: Chapter Arts Centre
Dates: 16 & 17 June 2016
Author(s): Rebecca Smith-Williams
Director: James Williams
Lighting Design: Dan Young
Technical: Richard Balshaw (Production Stage Manager) and Jorge Lizalde (Graphic Design)
Cast includes: Valmai Jones (Enid), Rebecca Knowles (Alice) and Rebecca Smith-Williams (Georgina).
Co-producer: Rebecca Knowles
Running time: 65 mins

 

 

Review Billy Elliot WMC by Gemma Treharne-Foose

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(4 / 5)

 

Fans of the original Billy Elliott movie, also directed by Stephen Daldry can expect a little bit of extra magic from the Wales Millennium Centre’s hosting of the hugely successful Billy Elliott production.

Charismatically led by the mesmerising young actor Lewis Smallman, the show takes us on a pleasing detour from the original film script. We not only see brand new additions to the story but lengthier explorations in to the characters of Billy’s Mam, Nana and Michael (who you may remember has a penchant for his sister’s clothes and has a soft spot for his friend Billy). There are plenty of cheeky exchanges and gritty working class banter courtesy of the superb ensemble cast and the kind of unguarded and politically incorrect observations and comments reminiscent of drunk uncles or grandfathers at Christmas. This was the eighties, after all!

The show respectfully and tastefully contextualises a time of great fear and a sense of national panic about the fate of mining communities, punctuated by the innocence and childish sense of fun of Billy and his fiend Michael. The two battle with conforming to the unwelcome stereotypes and limitations placed upon them in the masculine mining communities during the miner’s strike. Throughout the whole production, the community is at war with the police on the picket lines and the sense of hatred towards Margaret Thatcher is palpable. There are sprinklings of ‘Maggie Maggie Maggie Maggie – out, out, out!’ chants, naughty jokes, insults, political Thatcher and Heseltine puppets and an incredibly designed giant Margaret Thatcher (milk snatcher) model emerging from the stage at one point, which will remind you of the ‘Spitting Image’ years. There is a simply spectacular scene where Billy and his ballet classmates are in the middle of a lesson while dancing coppers clash with picketing miners…the story telling in Darling’s choreography, use of pace and the physicality of the actors was a powerful highlight for me.

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I loved the additional scene in the musical where Andrea Miller’s character Nanna paints a picture of what life was like for women when ‘men went out to mine’. For all the much-romanticised community spirit and camaraderie of the mining men…life was pretty shit for the women left behind.

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Nanna’s rebelliousness and Joie de vivre as she literally gives the finger to gender stereotypes and misogyny is infectious and this nod to gender politics and male chauvinism was later echoed when Billy caught Michael trying on dresses. Michael innocently asks ‘What’s wrong with being dressed as a girl?’, as if dressing as a girl is worse than actually being one. There is a fantastically camp and cute scene where Michael and Billy deliver an incredible call to action during their energetic and playful dance piece: be who you want to be – dress and all!

While Daldry’s movie gave us pacy cinematic editing and a razor sharp script, it’s fair to say the script for the on-stage production doesn’t quite match the quality of the original film script. Some of the lyrics and exchanges are a little simple and at times clichéd. On the first night of its long run, some of the Geordie accents were a bit ropey and there were some sound issues with a creaking set BUT we are more than compensated with incredible choreography thanks to Peter Darling. This is a real shot of adrenaline in the arm and a classic feel-good show. Go see this show, take your Mam…wear a tutu, even – you won’t regret it.

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Title: Billy Elliott
Venue: Wales Millennium Centre
Dates (15th June-16 July), PN 15th June.
Book and Lyrics by Lee Hall
Director: Stephen Daldry
Design: Ian Macneil
Technical: Costume by Nicky Gillibrand; Lighting by Rick Fisher, Sound by Paul Arditti.
Cast includes: Anette McLaughlin, Martin Walsh, Andrea Miller and Scott Garnham.
Producer(s) Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Jon Finn and Sally Greene.
Running time: 3hrs

 

Review Ben Folds & yMusic support Lera Lynn WMC by Jon Mohajer

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(4 / 5)

In a beautifully fitting close to Cardiff’s premier Festival of Voice, Ben Folds stood at the edge of the stage in a packed out Donald Gordon Theatre and conducted the audience to sing in wondrous three-part harmony. Playing the left and right sides of the impromptu choir with subtle motions of each hand, the veteran song-writer composed pop melodies of the swelling voices as effortlessly as if he was at home, sat at his piano.

Ben Folds’ standing ovation was well-deserved. Since 1995, Folds has consistently released smart, unconventional and above all catchy pop music, initially with the rock oriented Ben Folds Five, and later a ‘solo’ career which saw a shift towards more multi-timbral arrangements.

The latest project for Folds showcased in 2015’s ‘So There’ LP, is a collaboration with Brooklyn-based chamber sextet.

The group appeared onstage with Folds in Cardiff, displaying incredible skill in each of their instruments; violin, viola, cello, trumpet, flute and clarinet. While some singers may recruit players to add a layer of grandeur and schmaltz to their performances, the contribution of yMusic served an altogether different function, building up tension through tremolo and explosive flourishes. The tonal match to Folds’ lyrical expression of anxieties around growing older, breakdowns and the rest was remarkable. His distinctive voice flawlessly dipped in and out of falsetto register, while he pounded at an electric Yamaha piano. In fact, Folds shared onstage that his technique is so forceful, it had Jools Holland fearing for his piano’s integrity after the first Ben Folds Five appearance on his show.

The set centred around songs from ‘So There’ such as the title track, a reflection on the nervous anticipation of reinvention in a new city; ‘Capable of Anything’, a wry jab at the easy slogans (‘And I’m sure they meant you could be president’) which in fact work both ways; ‘Not a Fan’, a tender waltz packed with self-doubt and irony (‘You’re so well read; I grew up on sugar cereal and TV’). Several older songs were given a chamber sextet reinterpretation, like ‘Effington’, ‘Mess’, ‘Song For The Dumped’ and ‘Steven’s Last Night in Town’. The latter journeyed through incredible, expansive jazz drum and clarinet solos before reconvening around the theme.

In a recent interview Folds stated that he aims to divorce himself from listeners who aren’t tolerant of humour. On his first visit to Wales, Folds quickly befriended the crowd with his spontaneous wit and storytelling. Many years ago, a fan’s yell of ‘Rock This Bitch’ during a show gave rise to what would become a staple of Ben Folds’ live performances. The phrase, or variants of it, are sung over a freshly composed piece of music, with verse lyrics updated to tell the story of the day. Of course, Folds sought out the Welsh translation for the phrase, and after some initial bemusement at the seeming lack of Welsh speakers in the Welsh capital, took ‘rociwch y ast’ back to his piano.

Long term fans of Folds were treated during his encore to older hits like ‘Philosophy’, ‘Not The Same’ and ‘All U Can Eat’, a simultaneously hilarious and profound take on Walmart culture. Here’s to hoping Ben doesn’t keep us waiting another 20 years before visiting Wales again!

Lera Lynn, a singer of Nashville, TN opened the evening with atmospheric, minimalist country rock/americana. Her voice was incredibly rich, deep and strong, punching through the unsettling minor key arpeggios of her own guitar and that of a second which provided a thick spring reverb-drenched counterpoint. I sat back in my seat, closed my eyes, and felt sure I’d reopen them upon endless plains of North American desert.

Sunday 12th June
Festival of Voice:
BEN FOLDS & yMUSIC w/ LERA LYNN.
Wales Millennium Centre (Donald Gordon Theatre)

Review Alternative Routes NDCW by Helen Joy

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(4 / 5)

Dance. In a space I didn’t know existed. I am not proud of this fact. I am not proud that I know embarrassingly little about dance too.

We are met at the door by Paul Kaynes and his team and they welcome us with huge smiles and enthusiasm. Everyone chats and enjoys the view over Cardiff Bay from the rooftop of this marvellous building. We are given an introduction to the evening and invited in to the auditorium.

The seats are packed with colour and youth. I become slightly obsessed with wanting to swap this audience with that grey-haired one at the Cathedral earlier in the week. And as the evening progresses, I want to do this more and more. I want the opera lovers to be here, with me, sharing this beautiful experience. Oh to pull it all together somehow!

I confess, I don’t read programmes before I see something. I don’t want to be influenced. I want it to speak to me and me alone. This is about Voice, after all.

It begins with a woman and a man dancing to what feels like Eighties rave music with strobes and UV and hoops and planets and they tell a little love story through dance and gymnastics and ballet and they are so beautiful, just so beautiful. Luminously lovely. And I want to be Degas – I want to capture their shapes somehow. It is not enough to watch them.

Darkness. A spotlight. A man dances through a series of emotions and I feel I am watching his collapse into sadness. He makes me think of the loneliness of communication – the struggle to be understood. It is a deeply moving performance. I am relieved when finally he stands in the centre of the light.

A woman prowls onto the stage. She talks to us through her movements and I am desperate to interpret them. The music is sweeping and classical and it is all very pretty and acceptable and then it changes in a moment, it swells to panther proportions and I am watching a wild animal and the movements become the language of the wolf. Her body is not her own – she is absorbed in her passions and she is perfect in her credibility.

And then we break.

And I sit with Daniella. A student of dance. She looks me straight in the eye and tells me how wonderful it all is, how all she has ever done is dance, she has danced since she was a little child, it is who she is. She is enraptured by the second piece but she has loved it all. In her face I see that the gift of dance is a good one. There is such power in using dance to communicate – no-one else’s story, just your own; no tool as messenger, just your thoughts sent out there through your body.

It feels so loose, so uncontrolled, so unrepeatable. What an ability these people have and what a task to choreograph and to make it seem so easy every time!

We are asked to stand around the stage. It is a big space but we are shoulder to shoulder forming a square around a Crossword of 4 dancers. Each performs within a square, a battenburg cake of dance. Singly, together, this is an argument, a joke, a party, a series of opinions agreeing and clashing. I want to see it from above, see the patterns they make. It is gorgeous to watch and to be so close. I can see that I am not alone in wanting to join in – we all want to be part of it, to be understood.

We return to our seats. What now? Well. We get more cake, we get Nigella. We get a menopausal woman breaking the bonds of housewifery – as well as a few eggs! It is quite the most unusual performance I have ever seen and it is brilliant. I laugh! It is me!

I chat to others as we leave – what did you think of that last one? Oh yes, I do that – well, I want to do that…

I have loved it. Every minute of it. It has been challenging, beautiful, sad and funny. A novel in dance. And I still want to swap those audiences – bring those different voices together somehow and we will all be the wiser for it.

Event:                                       Alternate Routes

At:                                               National Dance Company Wales

Production:                           WMC, RWCMD & National Dance Company Wales for Festival of Voice

Artistic Director:               Caroline Finn

Choreographers:                Matteo Marfoglia, Camille Giraudeau and           Josef Perou

Chief Exec:                             Paul Kaynes

Seen:                                          6.45pm, 9th June, 2016

Reviewer:                                Helen Joy for 3rd Act Critics

Running:                                   09 Jun – 11 Jun 2016

Links:

http://www.ndcwales.co.uk/en/what-s-on/alternative-routes-20161/

http://www.ndcwales.co.uk/en/about/latest-news/national-dance-company-wales-and-royal-welsh-college-of-music-and-drama-inspires-the-next-generation-of-choereograghers-and-designers-through-alternative-routes/

 

Star rating:                4

 

 

Review Piaf! The Show Festival of Voice WMC by James Briggs

 

(4 / 5)

 

Cardiff welcomed one of France’s most famous singers in the form of ‘Piaf! The Show’ as part of the Festival of Voice event in association with ‘Directo Productions’. ‘Piaf! The Show’ celebrates the centenary of Edith Piaf’s birth and is a wonderful production  that sees French singer Anne Carrere filling the impeccably large boots of Edith Piaf. Edith Piaf holds very special memories for me as my family and I would regularly go on holiday to Jersey. When I was four I asked the hotel pianist if she would play Edith Piaf’s ‘Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien’. The pianist as well as my family were astounded at my request, but as we would return year after year to the same hotel every time I walked into the hotel the pianist would always play the song for me and even gave me some of my first ‘piano lessons’.

With a packed line up of almost thirty songs we are taken on a musical journey of Edith Piaf’s life starting firstly in Act 1 with the beginnings of Edith Piaf singing in café’s for customers and serenading people alongside the River Seine. However, Act 2 is totally different with the show changing into a concert style performance and Anne Carrere’s performance as Piaf is totally mesmerising. There were countless famous numbers included allowing the audience to sing along with the music. The settings used on the stage were minimal yet extremely effective some of which being a streetlamp in Montmartre,  seedy clubs of Pigalle and even the world famous Carnegie Hall in New York.

While performing on stage Anne Carrere was backed by a live band simply made up of a piano, doublebass, drums and the most amazing accordionist Guy Giuliano who was simply outstanding. The songs performed were a great mix from the well known such as Jezebel and Autumn Leaves and those not so well known to me such as ‘Bravo Pour Le Clown’, ‘Milord’ and ‘La Foule’.

The audience were left feeling as though we were watching the show in France as it was all in French. I really enjoyed the use of French as it brought more meaning to the music and made the portrayal of Edith Piaf by Anne Carrere even more special.

For those who have listened to Edith Piaf’s music you will know that she had a very specific sound to her voice and this is extremely difficult to impersonate, however, Anne Carrere manages to exemplify not only the spirit of the singer but also her unique sound. The legendary vibrato is captured with precision and even when dancing with men she had picked from the audience she stayed in character and didn’t let the accent go for one second.

The setting was also very effective in that during the singing a large projector at the back of the stage showed photographs of Edith Piaf through her many stages of life. Simple sets of a streetlamp alongside a park bench, bar and cafe tables provide the audience with a visual aid when listening to the music and following the story. This created the most fantastic atmosphere for the audience but the music with Anne Carrere alone is enough to entertain any audience and the enjoyment on stage was infectious.

For me this show was a dream come true and is the closest I will ever get to watching Edith Piaf singing her music live. It was therefore a terrible shame that the audience was so small in number as the performance deserved a packed audience. However, this did not deter the audience giving Anne Carrere and her band a standing ovation which was very well deserved.

I would recommend this show to everyone whether you are a fan of Edith Piaf or not as it is simply a wonderful celebration of all things French and the fabulous Anne Carrere is outstanding and I am sure when she performs at Carnegie Hall in New York I am sure she will be loved there also. If you ever get the chance do not think twice about buying a ticket as it is a must see show and your guaranteed a wonderful night out. Merci Anne Carrere vous étiez un artiste incroyable et vraiment fait Edith Piaf fier!

Merci d’avoir lu mon commentaire sur le fantastique Piaf ! Le spectacle.

Interview Ellie Kate Edwards and Penarth Circus

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Our project coordinator recently spoke to Ellie Kate Edwards about her background in Circus and her plans for a new Circus School and festival events in Penarth.

Hi Ellie you have a background in training with Circomedia and No Fit State Circus. Is it possible to give our readers some background information on yourself?

 Yes, I am from a little village In Caerphilly. I spent most of my childhood around horses and adventuring in the mountains. I loved dance and music. I was inspired by circus when I saw NoFit State’s ‘Immortal’ in Barry. It was the start of my obsession with circus. At the time I was studying social work and left the course to follow my passion. I started training in the South of Spain with a beautiful travelling community. They had an aerial rig in the most idyllic setting. I would train all day long getting blinded by the sun . I used to love looking at the sky line of the mountains while I was upside down. It was there that I decided to follow circus as a career and returned to study in Bristol.

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Photographic Credit Paul Ripley

Thanks, was  there a moment when you thought, “this is the career for me?”

Absolutely, it’s an incredibly demanding and competitive career. I sometimes I think it must be very nice to have a fixed contract, paid holidays and some security in your work. Having said that I love circus and I would feel totally at a loss without it.  I have put countless hours into my passion and when you put so much love and work into something it becomes part of you.  I wouldn’t want to change that.

Are there any individuals or organisations that helped support you once you realised a career in circus was for you?

I have had a huge support from Nofit State all the way through my career. From helping with audition pieces, a traineeship and guidance with new circus ventures. There has always been someone from NoFit State with the right bit of support at exactly the right moment.

Awareness of circus as an art form is growing, organisations like No Fit State are leading the way in circus across the world.  In your opinion what is need to help the art form develop?

Circus is at a very exciting time in its development, It will be very interesting to see which directions it will take. When we train in circus schools we are allowed a period of time where we can be very creative and inquisitive with circus as a new art form, we can develop our skills as individuals find the material which is unique to each circus performer within their discipline and so prevent ever trapeze artist from performing the same routine.

Once we leave circus schools we very quickly learn that the opportunity for this creative exploration is limited and to make a career in circus we very quickly have to produce the work which is in demand. If we could access funding we could return to this with time to collaborations with other circus performers and artists from different art forms. We could again explore the opportunities to make circus political and find the possibilities for progression. There are a lot of possibilities and avenues to be explored still but circus performers and directors need to time and resources to research. I have recently started to put on circus events in my local area. I am finding that there are many venues who want to have circus shows in there venue as it reaches a large and diverse audience. The problem is it costs a lot of money to bring circus shows to venues and so it can only happen if the venue, company or a combination are prepared to take big financial risks. Opportunities to find match funding or funding to help venues set us as a circus venue could help this to happen.

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Photographic Credit Ineptgravity Photography.

You frequently support workshop activity with members of the public, do you think this type of activity is important and why?

Circus has always been a temporary moment of magic which would bring communities together to share the experience. Although the tent would get packed away and the circus would leave it would leave behind a mark and memories on a landscape. I think that re engaging with this shared creative energy which brings communities together can only be a positive thing.  I love how accessible circus is. There is something for everyone. It is a joy full activity to learn with constant challenges but also many small victories along the way. To begin with it is subtly physical and great for our physical and mental wellbeing. It teaches children to support and look after each other and allows adults to connect and get stronger and fitter but through a creative medium.

What are the opportunities for those interested in circus in Wales?

 You are lucky to live in Wales!  The opportunities are vast. No Fit state run a full program of classes for adults and young people in Cardiff the community there is vibrant supportive and addictive. You can also check out the opportunities for circus in other areas of Wales. There are many established community circuses offering training in different areas around Wales.

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Photographic Credit Thomas Madhavan.

Elaine Bennett Co-founder of Penarth Circus and myself are so passionate about circus we would like to bring it to our doors steps. So we have started Circus Penarth. Over the summer we will be putting on workshops at many events and also we will be bringing some spectacular performances to Penarth Pier and other Vale of Glamorgan venues. We are hoping to start classes in Penarth over the winter.

That sounds great! If you were in charge of funding the arts in Wales what would be your priorities?

I would priorities bringing arts to vulnerable communities who could benefit from creativity. I think art can be used as a tool for empowerment and progress so why not channel it to communities who need this.  Having gained so much from the support of NoFit State Circus I would love to see the community in Cardiff continue to develop so they can keep giving this support to other people.  I would definitely prioritise keeping this community in Cardiff and  finding them a permanent community space. I would make the opportunities for funding more transparent and accessible to artists who are starting out and I would put a lot of energy in to keeping artists working as artists.

When you aren’t performing what do you like to do in your spare time?

I like to climb mountains, paddle in the sea and watch my little boy grow up very quickly. I love playing the piano accordion and currently I enjoy spending lots of my free time on Penarth Pier.

You are involved in some summer events at Penarth Pier can we know more?

 Yes.  We are organising and event called Y Môr – Bygones of Penarth, It will be performed in and around Penarth Pavilion on the 30th of July.  The event will involve local creative communities who will be supported by a professional cast and directed by Olga Ina Morati. We hope to bring the pier and pavilion to life in an immersive promenade performance recreating memories from Penarth pier through different points in history.

Over the summer we will also be performing and facilitating workshops at different Penarth events and festivals. Every Saturday in August we will be organising different circus and theatre acts as well as street shows to perform on the pier. We will keep you updated with our performances and visiting acts on our Penarth Circus Facebook page.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/231548013900190/

How do we get involved in your circus projects?

We are looking for community members who are interested in sharing their memories of Penarth Pier for Y Mor – Bygones of Penarth and also any creative individuals or groups who would like to get involved in the evenings events. If you are interested please contact us on; cardiffsplatch@gmail.com or through our Facebook page.

 Sounds great, many thanks for your time

Review Can I Start Again Please? Battersea Arts Centre by Hannah Goslin

 

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Photo credits, Matthew Andrews

(3 / 5)

Language is the common denominator of all cultures. It’s how we communicate. How we progress. It’s a vital part of being safe and how we control our lives.

Can I Start Again Please ? Is a beautiful and simple piece of theatre with an abundance of subtext. It looks at language and how it is used and it’s restrictions. It also looks at elements of childhood trauma and abuse and how language is stunted by these events.

Two performers sat in huge dresses (Sue MacLaine and Nadia Nadarajah) our focus only on their face and their hands with a simple set of a few books by each of them, 3 bells and a large never ending sheet of paper across their laps.

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At times the minimalism of such a small set and performance in such a large area creates a lack of intimacy. We are at times meant to feel as if we are being addressed but in a large area, it gives confusion as to whether we really are or whether this is directed to the other performer. Or was this the intention?

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The performers show only two of the many ways we communicate – British Sign Language and vocally. The beauty of sign language is something I’ve never before taken the time to appreciate – the fluidity of the movement and the nature of gestures reminded me of a dance – a movement of language. If taken into a different context, there are many similarities in this language to what is achieved by physical theatre. The story or the expression is given through movement and at time abstract gestures rather than a simplistic mime; conveying emotion and meaning to anyone and everyone.

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Touching upon childhood trauma – the combination of both these ideas into one production is very clever. The performers have taken from personal history which gives a personable and relatable performance. How we are given freedom of speech yet we can be threatened not to speak, be scared to or even lose the ability to through traumatic events, showing the growing limitations language has culturally.

Video credits, Zoe Manders

This minimalistic but contextually full performance is 60 minutes of intensity; highlighting the pain and structure of language especially in difficult situations as well as how culturally it has changed.

I left with much food for thought and a new appreciation of language.

http://www.suemaclaine.com/can-i-start-again-please/

Review Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows by Jonathan Evans

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(2 / 5)

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles have always worked best as a genre where it welcomes the weird and the insane on a whim. A world where our four main characters are the most unlikely culmination of things that have ever been conceived in pop-culture and now face creations of equal or greater feats of insane genius. Perhaps this is why they have had a hard time in the world of live action movies and the medium of animation and comics just seems to suit them better.

The first movie got no love from me as a lifelong fan of movies and the Turtles. This one, from the first few trailers, you could tell that they were leaning to a different direction. This is a course correction of a sequel. I would argue that if the first movie wasn’t even that good then that shouldn’t even justify a sequel. But we live in a world of franchises, so sometimes we must roll with the punches.

As soon as they appear we instantly see an improvement. Their feature have been refined and improved. They look less ghoulish, the colours are more vibrant, less accessories that make their overall designs less cluttered and their facial features have been smoothed out. They look less terrifying.

Shredder returns as an antagonist in this movie. He is still a very undefined villain in this movie franchise. Although this time he was thwarted by the Turtles so he wants revenge. That’s at least a motivation. However dropped in our laps is Kraang a villain that every fan knows but has never made a live-action appearance until now. His design is out of the old 50’s alien designs. A big talking brain with a face on it.

Even with all the previously mentioned improvements this movie has some of the most forced, amateur examples of exposition you will ever see. These are moments that they put in-front of you to show how not to write conversations. How they were able to get away with it in this movie I have no idea. Silly and nonsensical is on thing. But this is just bad writing, in-excusable.

We then get even more characters in the form of two thugs named Bebop (Gary Anthony Williams) and Rocksteady (Sheamus). They are the two block-headed thugs to enforce the big-bad’s will. But they go through a mutation that will give them the edge against the Turtles. Again adding to the ever-expanding-cast is Casey Jones. Stephen Amell is given some tough scenes to act-through. I mean tough in the terms that the comedy and mentality is terribly forced. He gets moments to be charming and to say a few quips, which he does very well.

As well as all the characters that are added (some I haven’t even mentioned) we are shown further development with the Turtles themselves as a family. They are becoming frustrated with having to hide themselves away from society that they love so much and want to join it. However they are still ninjas, which means they must operate stealthily (how they been able to remain hidden considering their huge, hulking physic is beyond me).

Is this an improvement over the last movie? Yes. At least it is closer to the appeal of the Turtles. The gruesome edges have been sanded down and is a much smoother experience. The moments of exploitation are still here but no more real moments of creepiness. Still there is a wrapped and forced sense of comedy and not much heart.

This is not a good movie, but all ratings are meant to be relevant not absolute. So I consider how weak the first movie was and how much better this one is.

Review An Evening with Bryn Terfel and Friends Festival of Voice by Helen Joy

Bryn-Terfel-Photo-credit-Mei-Lewis

Photographic credit Mei Lewis 

(4 / 5)

I sat on a wooden seat I remembered well from school days, from weddings, from funerals; from happy, sad and scary times. The doors open to the green light and the bird song, to the passers-by and the church bells.

We are a congregation of grey hairs, crumpled linen and sensible shoes, mostly. Only a few lift their phones to film as the orchestra and conductor walk in but this is not the place for pop concert technology and they are gently reminded as such.

This is the place for the wet velvet voices of the truly gifted to fill these old bones of a building with the beauty of centuries. And I am lost – I have no notion how to describe the feelings inside me.

Bryn Terfel – always magnificent with the strength of the lion; Rebecca Evans – the exquisitely powerful song of the angel; Hannah Stone – enchanting us all with the magic harp; Gareth Jones – blooming with the pride of leading Sinfonia Cymru. Bach, Handel and Mozart would have been thrilled – although they may have shown it in different ways!

So how do I describe an hour in their company? I thought about Epstein and his Christ In Glory looking out and over us – the bold decision of a Bishop and his Dean and Chapter in 1950 to recover their cathedral and make her grand again after the destruction of war – and found these words by their architect, George Pace: Mystery should be veiled and vista should open upon vista..seemed to sum it up rather well.

 Type of show:         Opera selection, harp

(Bach, Handel and Mozart, including Brandenburg Concerto No.60)

Title:                           An Evening with Bryn Terfel and Friends
Venue:                       Llandaff Cathedral

Conductor:               Gareth Jones
Bass Baritone:        Bryn Terfel
Soprano:                    Rebecca Evans
Harp:                            Hannah Stone

Orchestra:                  Sinfonia Cymru

Date:                              7pm, Tuesday 7th June only
http://www.wmc.org.uk/WhatsOn/voice/

 

End

Ennillodd Gwynfor Dafydd o Rhondda Cynnon Taf Y Gadair yn yr Eisteddfod 2016 am ei gerdd, sydd am y Cymoedd yn Ne Cymru cyn yr oes diwydiannol/Gwynfor Dafydd from Rhondda Cynnon Taf wins The Chair at The Eisteddfod 2016 for his poem about the post-industry valleys of South Wales.

_89867343_gwynfor2

Ennillodd Gwynfor Dafydd o Rhondda Cynnon Taf Y Gadair yn yr Eisteddfod 2016 am ei gerdd, sydd am y Cymoedd yn Ne Cymru cyn yr oes diwydiannol/Gwynfor Dafydd from Rhondda Cynnon Taf wins The Chair at The Eisteddfod 2016 for his poem about the post-industry valleys of South Wales.

Bywgraffiad

Bachgen deunaw oed o Donyrefail ydw i, sydd ar hyn o bryd yn ddisgybl yn Ysgol Llanhari, a chyn hynny fe fûm yn ddisgybl yn Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Tonyrefail. Yr wyf wrth fy modd yn astudio ieithoedd, ac felly os caf y graddau gofynnol, gobeithiaf fynd i Goleg yr Iesu yng Nghaegrawnt y flwyddyn nesaf er mwyn astudio Sbaeneg ac Almaeneg ab initio.

Cerdd am fro fy mebyd ydyw’r gerdd hon sy’n ymateb i erthygl a ddarllenais i â’r pennawd ‘The unbearable sadness of the Welsh valleys.’ Felly, mae hi’n trafod themâu megis ‘anghyfiawnder cymdeithasol’, ‘tlodi’ a ‘diweithdra’ a’r problemau anochel a ddaw law y llaw â hyn. Er hyn, fe geir y teimlad bod cymuned yn mynd i gamu ymlaen erbyn y gerdd olaf, a herio’r sefydliad er mwyn creu cymuned decach a sosialaidd.

I am an eighteen-year-old boy from Tonyrefail, and am currently a student at Ysgol Llanhari, and before that I attended Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Tonyrefail. I enjoy studying languages, and am hoping to go to Cambridge next year to study Spanish and German ab initio, if I obtain the necessary grades.

This is a poem about the unjust treatment of the place in which I was born, responding to a poignant article that I had read with the headline ‘The unbearable sadness of the Welsh valleys.’ Therefore, it discusses themes such as ‘social inequality’, ‘poverty’, ‘unemployment’ and the inevitable consequences of this. However, there is hope in the last poem that the community will challenge the establishment and fight to build an egalitarian and socialist society.

 

‘The unbearable sadness of the Welsh valleys’ – Mark Easton, BBC.

 ‘”Why don’t you leave?” I ask an unemployed man in his 50s. “Because I’m a valleys boy,” comes the reply. “This is home.”’

 Yn datŵ damweiniol

ar noson feddwol, creithiwyd

y lle hwn

yn ddwfn i’r croen

ac i’r cnawd. Nid

fy ffawd, nid fy newis i

oedd deffro i ddyffryn

graffiti a gwm cnoi

lle mae brain yn toi’r

tafarndai a’r capeli a’r siopau.

 

Ond felly y bu.

 

Mae’r graffiti a’r gwm yn glynu,

y tatŵ yn gwrthod crychu,

ac eto,

rwy’n gofyn yn gyson:

 

Ai ni yw dy bobl

ynteu dy wystlon?

 

II

‘Many parts of the UK have suffered from the decline of heavy industry, and the Welsh valleys are a grim emblem of this.’

 

Cerdd Tad-cu beunydd fynyddoedd ei fro,

fel y gwnaeth ganwaith gynt â’i dad-cu e –

yn dilyn ei lwybr at y pyllau glo

a’i mowldiodd yn dalp o bentrefi’r de:

Ceibiwyd ei gefn i frwydro’r gwynt a’r glaw,

weldiwyd ei draed i’r pridd yn gusan hir,

siapiwyd ei ddwylo’n llyw i’w reddfol raw,

a thynnodd ef ddau blentyn bach o’r tir.

Ond heddiw, ar gyfeiliorn, mae ar daith

yn chwilio am fyd sy’n gorwedd fel rhith

dan y bryniau mud a’r twmpathau maith,

a neb i olrhain ei gam ond y gwlith.

Mewn tanchwa drachwantus, daeth gwifrau du

a pheilonau haearn i ardd Tad-cu.

 

III

‘There are no shops around here and the bus to town stops at 6pm. There are children who’ve never been more than a mile or two from their front door.’

 

Mae hi yno’n aros

bob nos yn yr orsaf fysiau.

 

Ni ŵyr pam.

Ni ŵyr i ble mae’r bysiau’n mynd.

Ond gŵyr mai bws yw’r ateb.

 

Rwyt ti wedi ei gweld.

 

Ffroenaist y patrymau

coch

ar hyd ei breichiau.

 

Baglaist dros y caniau gwag

oedd yn ei gwarchae

gan guchio’r minlliw

a staeniodd dy jîns.

 

Cuddiaist glustiau dy blant rhag ei rhegfeydd

(Sh*t. F*ck it. C*nt.)

a gwarafun gweld bod merch fel hon

yn griddfan mewn cynghanedd.

 

A phregethaist dan dy wynt

fod bysiau’n gorffwys

ar ôl chwech.

 

IV

‘Tonight, the place feels abandoned, and many people appear to have given up on God.’

 

Mae’r lle, heno, mor llonydd

â Duw (fel y mae bob dydd),

ei dreigl ar stop, a’i siopau

i gyd â’u shutters ar gau –

rhesi clòs o ddrysau clo

yn hisian … lle bu croeso.

 

Ac mae, heno, gymuned

yn y dump yn chwarae dead

hen le llwyd sy’n casglu llwch,

hen aelwyd mewn anialwch

unig, gwag, cans daeth i’r cwm

hualau … lle bu cwlwm.

 

A heno’n ein cyfannu,

nid oes ond gwe’r gwifrau du –

yn ddi-hid, cyfalaf ddaeth

i hawlio bro brawdoliaeth,

ac mewn ’stâd ddigymen, stêl,

mae’r hen dŷ ’n marw’n dawel.

 

V

‘”Politicians kick us and then they kick us again,” a local despairs.’

 

Mae tlodi’n halogi’n heolydd ni

a’i flas dros weflau’r mynyddoedd tost.

Treiddia ei rym drwy gracs y tai

am nad ydyw’n licio’u cod post.

 

Ymhell, bell dros y dŵr bas

mae ’sgidiau glân a syber-glyd

a droediant yn drwm ar ein strydoedd ni

o bell, bell â’u gwadnau di-hid.

 

Yno, ym mêr y muriau mawrion

mae rhagfarn eu cloc haearnaidd yn byw.

Yma, fe gosbir pawb ’r un fath:

pob hil, pob oed, pob rhyw.

 

Yr un yw’r gri o’r fynwent draw

yn y rhesi hir o feini rhad

a brynodd i’r pellfuddugwyr gynt

eu rhyfel drud ar faes y gad.

 

Ond clywch y drwm yn curo’n rymus

rhwng y cyrff a fwydodd y gweryd â’u gwaed

sy’ heddiw’n had i’r to iau

a dyf o’r dicter dan eu traed.

 

Daw’r curiadau anochel yn amlach,

eu cnulio’n atseinio’n uwch bob tro.

Llyfa’r tir ei wefusau’n wancus

wrth gyfarch eneidiau ‘glanach’ i’r gro.

 

Mae tlodi’n halogi’n heolydd ni,

tlodi sy’n dilyn cod post.

A’r un yw’r ffawd bob ochr i’r ffin –

’dyn ni i gyd yn cyfri’r gost…

Cwm Cnoi

http://www.s4c.cymru/urdd/e_index.php