Arabian Nights, a perfect show for the whole family at Christmas time. Directed by Rachel O’Riordan was a show filled with endless energy and inventive inputs. This production is Rachel’s second at the Sherman Cymru Theatre and it is just as recommendable as the first- Romeo and Juliet.
This show presents themes of devastation, hope, forgiveness and love. It teaches us life lessons and the way not being able to forgive causes internal turmoil. Shahrazad, played by Elin Phillips is a headstrong, courageous girl, hoping to save the King’s mind (Ashley Alymann) who loathes all women. Due to his late-wife’s deceitfulness, every night he marries a daughter and then executes them the next morning. Shahrazad, with her magic of storytelling tries to get rid of all the pain and hatred the King has through the use of her enchanting stories.
There were eight actors on stage, all immersing themselves in different roles in the stories of One Thousand and One Nights. If they weren’t playing a character they were a part of the set which created a well timed unified performance. Their presence on stage was captivating and each one proved they were diverse performers. Even though there was a highly Eastern feel to the performance they snuck in the Welsh accent which provided a lot of comical entertainment, especially from Alun Saunders. I was also very happy to see the return of Anita Reynolds from Romeo and Juliet whom was just as amazing in this performance as she was in the last.
The aesthetics of the performance are something the designer, Hayley Grindle, should be proud of. The set was exemplary to the performance and the lighting choices, by Kevin Treacy were innovative. It included about a hundred light bulbs hanging down creating a starry night and a wonderful arabian atmosphere. The music, directed by Gareth Wyn Griffiths gave us a contextual insight and showcased that some of the performers weren’t just talented actors but skilled at playing musical instruments.
This show is filled with fun moments that had all generations in fits of laughter. Make time this Christmas and go to see this show with the whole family. It’s one not to be missed and will provide entertainment for all.