Kaitlin Wray

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Review ‘The Greatest Liar in all the World’, Familia De La Noche

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‘The Greatest Liar in all the World’ performed by the Carmarthenshire based company, Familia De La Noche, take the story of Pinocchio, after becoming a real boy. Conrad Sharp, playing the older Pinocchio looks back on his life with grievance. Throughout his life he’s told lies to get him out of trouble and now his last request is to tell the truth, the story of his past. This is a well thought out story that merges farcical tales with romance, truth with pain. They use a variety of different arts such as puppetry, physical theatre, clowning and live music. Each craft, perfect for the story line making their work unique and immersive.

This highly comedic play has touching moments that emphasise the pain of Pinocchio’s past and his search for the one he loves. These moments are so contrasting with the comedy before hand, that it moves the audience so much more. The skilful Dot Cotton whom dances with such elegance is entrancing to watch. She is accompanied by a simplistic but highly emotive piano melody performed by Max Runham, a wiz with all things musical. He knows exactly how to create the perfect tune to accompany with the action on stage. However, the highly emotive section would be Conrad Sharp’s monologue and the very end scene, the unexpected heart-wrenching twist. Truly outstanding to say the least. After being through a journey with them, learning about his true life, this thought-provoking twist was a beautiful end to a magnificent piece of theatre.

This story, perfect for all ages captures the beauty within many forms of acting. Their high level of talent and the imagery they are able to produce makes it spell binding performance. I’m excited to see what they produce next.

Review Last Christmas, Dirty Protest

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I never thought a one man story could grab me by the stomach and twist it and turn it as much as Matthew Bulgo’s ‘Last Christmas’ did. Performed by the hugely talented Sion Pritchard, both these men have achieved something many others would strive their whole life to achieve, an audience in complete awe. A script, carefully structured with such humanity that everyone could relate to, it had many moments of sheer comedic genius which resulted in hysterics of laughter.

Sion Pritchard’s characterisation’s shone as we travelled through a journey with him. His presence on stage captured the audience and the way he spoke made it unbelievable that this story wasn’t based on his own experiences. Sion had to rely on just his voice and actions to tell this story without the use of any props or scenery. Sion did this remarkably, not once did I lose interest, he had everyone of the edge of their seats throughout, engulfed in his demeanour and the strength of his voice. The performance space wasn’t the best for this work as you had to strain to see at times. However it was well worth a cricked neck to be able to capture every facial expression Sion delivered.

No wonder this show sold out on most nights, it was a wonderful experience and would highly recommend it to anyone.

Review Adrift, Infini productions by Kaitlin Wray

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Adrift

Infini productions.

Well what can I say about this show? The first free comedy show I saw and it was at a higher level than some of the shows that I’ve paid to see. Three guys, stranded on a raft at sea after failing a mutiny. How does their fate end? You’ll have to see! George Infini, writer and director of ‘Adrift’ knows just how to entertain people. The storyline, though simplistic was endless in comedy, from one-liners to the individual personalities of each character. The back stories were carefully constructed which complemented each other completely. Even though this is a tragicomedy, there were many warm moments where we saw a beautiful insight to the characters past and emotions. These moments really stood out for me as we got a feel for the situation they were in and couldn’t help but wish for a happy ending.

Paul Cammack, playing Mr. Henlow, was the obvious leader in this trio. His casual demeanour of their situation made it even more comedic. James Beaumont, playing the Welsh Doctor Mr. Roberts, was the most affected by their situation. His frustration and rage at the other characters provided realism to this piece. Sam Harding, playing the simpleton Mr. John showcased an impressive West Country accent which was kept throughout. Each actor impressed me fully with their ability to captivate an audience through words, mannerisms and even complete silence. Their standing ovation was greatly deserved as it was evident each one of them put their time and effort into this show.

Overall the guys from Infini Productions certainly should be proud of themselves as they excelled into creating and producing great work. We will certainly be seeing more from them in the future. As for me, I can not wait!

Review Llais/Voice, Cynyrchiadau Pluen / Flake Productions by Kaitlin Wray

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Llais/Voice

Cynyrchiadau Pluen / Flake Productions

Llais/Voice, A perfect example where music and performance complement each other completely. Elgan Rhys devised this piece based around Amanda Todd’s YouTube video, where she uses placards to tell her story of bullying and depression. Without the use of spoken word, Llais/Voice incorporates dance, multimedia and live music to express Elgan’s own past experiences. This performance was cleverly constructed and pulled on my heart strings. His passion captivated the audience and immersed us into how growing up is probably one of the hardest things to do.

As I’m a lover of live music in shows, Llais/Voice was a perfect show for me. Josh Bowles accompanied Elgan with music that made the performance all the more beautifully striking. His talent for composing and his high level of musical ability made this show elevate its professionalism.

The maturity and elegance Llais/Voice had makes it a wonder that they are just a young company. One thing I would have liked to see was the beginning to be just as insightful as the rest. It took time to get into the body of the work, yet it was well worth the wait. The progression kept going until I was spellbound. Llais/Voice is a must see if you want to see beauty from pain.

Review Last Chance Romance, Kitsch & Sync Collective by Kaitlin Wray

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This fun-filled 50’s themed extravaganza was just what I needed to top off my first night at the Edinburgh Festival.

Three stunning girls,  dressed up in typical 50’s clothes infused dancing with comedy, singing and love booths. The audience interaction, though highly entertaining I felt got a bit over the top at parts although it did leave most of the audience in stitches. The girls kept their charismatic roles throughout while being accompanied by carefully picked songs that went perfectly with the action on stage. One thing that would enhance this performance was a more in depth story line, a carefully structured plot that would capture the audience even more. However it was a lovely night of light hearted fun, an informal space where you could be as chilled as you want.

If you’re looking for love or just a bit of classic fun then this show is a must see.

Review ‘An Audience with Shurl’ Sue Bevan by Kaitlin Wray

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‘An Audience with Shurl’, the first ever show I went to see at the Edinburgh fringe festival. This performance hit me unexpectedly. The once bubbly energetic Sue Began, making us all crease with laughter changed so dramatically it felt like I stepped into a different performance. I realised the comedy we once originally saw, was really just a mask to her true self underneath that we were now invited to step into. Even though the topics raised wasn’t something I could feel empathetic towards, the way Susan spoke so passionately about her past, made my heart wrench out.

This one woman show, written and directed entirely by the wonderful Sue Bevan herself, had me on the edge of my seat throughout. She showed me a true insight to her life growing up. This bittersweet play was storytelling at it’s finest. Can’t wait to see more of Susan’s productions in the future.

Review Toast/Ken & Steve by Velvet Trumpet, Chapter Arts Centre by Kaitlin Wray

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After experiencing many different forms of comedy I have come to realise that this genre is completely broad. Comedy can derive from many forms, from sarcasm to stand up comedy. There’s black comedy to farcical comedy. One thing that’s evident is that even though most people love a good comedy they probably won’t enjoy every type. As I sat in the audience to a two part show put on at Chapter Theatre for this years Comedy Festival, I realised that I too have specific preferences on which comedy I enjoy.

As I entered into the theatre to a simplistic set with the instruments to make toast laid out on the table, I at once felt hungry. The memories I have of waking up to a piece of toast warmed me up inside. This notion is what carried the first act successfully as every person could relate in more than one way. This twenty minute skit’s premise was based on one guy who had a nasty break-up with his former-wife which escalated into having a love-affair with his toaster. It wasn’t until half way through the act that we came to find out that the toaster, ‘Tessa’ was his new girlfriend. Though absurd this may sound, the way it was performed was carefully timed to perfection. Every punch line was hit which left the audience in stitches. The actor, whose name wasn’t mentioned anywhere took the audience by storm. His story-telling was believable and the warmth he portrayed through his character gave us an insight to the barbarity of his love-affair. Even though this was a skit there were a few things that really made this piece stand out. Firstly was the smell of toast wafting through the air that made the audience long for it even more. The other was a particular line in the skit, “We objectify women all the time so why not go the whole hog and womanise objects.” This line hit me as women tend to objectified mainly in the media, making it feel like its acceptable for this to happen. This line brought a deeper meaning to the skit and left the audience questioning how we act.

The second act consisted of Velvet Trumpet’s Ken and Steve as they re-embark their journey from London to Swansea. Ken and Steve reminded me of yin and yang, both completely different in character but their chemistry worked well on stage. What started off as a multimedia performance changed to a presentation into something else entirely different. However the purpose behind this performance was never clear to me, were they trying to get us to raise more money for them? Was it to promote Ken’s new play? Was it just a stand up comedy sketch? Due to this I couldn’t get into this act. I felt the performance was hyperbolic and overly improvised. The reason could be the amount of audience interaction there was.During  one part an (un)lucky audience member got pulled up on stage and ended up taking his top off. This was to re-enact the picture presented of a semi-naked couple posing. Even though I didn’t enjoy it myself most of the audience were in stitches, it could have been my mood that day or the fact I just didn’t understand the concept of what was happening.

I can honestly say though as I sat in the audience everyone around me were fully enjoying the experience Velvet Trumpet Theatre company had to offer.

Review The Homecoming ROGUE’Z Theatre Company by Kaitlin Wray

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The Homecoming, is one of Harold Pinter’s most ambiguous, sexually orientated play that eradicates family values and morals. Although somewhat dark, it is nevertheless comedic throughout with explicit language. Two main themes, sex and power, they’re established in this play through the use of the characters. Even though this play is highly stylised -on the verge of being unrealistic the play underlines certain truths about the dark side of human nature, giving an insight to what can happen behind closed doors.

Due to the challenging nature of this play there is no doubt that the talented cast of ROGUE’Z Theatre Company chose this play for the Cardiff Comedy festival. Their habit of seeking out plays rarely performed is what makes their work original and special for theatre in Wales. The simplistic staging and the lack of physical action makes it clear that they  must rely on their voice and characterisation to deliver this challenging performance. They excelled in this task. Each actor showed a true deeper meaning into the madness of the this peculiar family. Their individual and perfected mannerisms brought to life Pinter’s equivocal characters. Jeff Fifer playing the role of the embittered father Max, demonstrated the robustness of this character. His comedic timings are impeccable and he nonetheless creates a dynamic stance to this play. Andreas Constantinou not only directing the play, but embodying Lenny, creates a character that dominates the household with wit and suave. His charming method of delivery gave an insight to the psychotic mind of an unsettled man. Ray Thomas plays the loveable character of Uncle Sam, his nervous disposition and obedience to his brother Max is highlighted throughout Ray’s performance and the audience feels empathy towards him. Darren Freebury-Jones playing Joey, a character who’s ambition in life is to become a boxer yet lacking education was portrayed very convincingly by Darren and kept the audience entertained . Richard Jones playing Teddy, portrays him as disconnected towards the rest of the family. Even though he is considered the most intelligent he lets himself be undermined by everyone else. The only female in this play is Ruth, played by Nerys Rees, she accentuates the power she has as a woman and when she wants to she can make every word roll off her tongue and capture the characters and audience’s attention.

Overall these characters, outlandish in ways, appear troubled from their past and make the audience want to delve in even further, thus leaving us to question and debate Pinter’s hidden meanings in the play. I believe that Pinter would have approved of this clever and imaginative interpretation of the Homecoming. If you’re a fan of Pinter’s work or interested in dark humour than this play is a must-see for you.

Review Roberto Zucco by August 012, Chapter Arts Centre by Kaitlin Wray

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Production Photograph’s by Jorge Lizalde – studiocano.co.uk

A serial killer expressed in an empathetic way?

You wouldn’t have thought it possible but Bernard- Marie Koltés play ‘Roberto Zucco’ does this justice. Roberto Zucco, the infamous 1980’s Italian serial-killer, murdered his parents, two police officers, women and a child, he was broadcast by the media as the monster he was. Then Koltés play was released. The only way to give justice to this play is to take audacious risks and convincing characterisation and the theatre company, August012’s did this exceptionally well!

It was evident as you stepped into the traverse layout performance space that you needed to leave all expectations of normality behind. The shimmering silver confetti on the floor and the way the actors moved around the audience before the play had even begun, gave an insight to their characters, which consequently brought this play to life instantly !

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The gripping nature of the production in part due to the actors limitless abilities as they effortlessly stepped into different characters. Each character brought a highly entertaining twist that took the audience by storm. Bethan Mai embodied every character she played with such ease and allurement that it grasped the audience completely. John Norton gender swapped, pimp-played, became a fragile old man and other characters you wanted to loathe and love. Nevertheless he delivered the most laughs. John achieved his roles with such conviction that you had to think twice if it was really the same person acting. Joanna Simpkins with her beautiful yet bold characterisations, delivers with such strength that the audience tuned in to every word she said. Last but not least, Adam Redmore took the role of the protagonist Roberto Zucco in his stride. Even though this is the only concrete character in the play, Adam’s performance was outstanding as he delivered passion beneath the psychotic words and the mesmerising gaze which enthralled the audience. The fact we sympathise with his character the most unsettled the audience due to the realisation that he was a serial killer!

One of the other fascinating elements this production offered was the original and talented aspects of the choir. They produced non-diegetic music that supported the fast-paced interchanging scenes. This created an intoxicating energy that engulfed the audience and enhanced the performance. Their voices sung with angelic clarity brought an unnerving oxymoronic presence to any darkness created in the scene !

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However nothing could have prepared the audience for what they themselves brought to the performance. The high level of audience interaction kept us on the edge of our seats throughout. Without spoiling anything it certainly was an experience worth experiencing!

Director Mathilde López knows no boundaries and has once again created a work of art that excites and captivates the audience with black comedy throughout. Grab a ticket and see for yourself what August012’s company has to offer, changing the way we view theatre in Wales.

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