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An Interview with Playwright Emily White

Hi Emily great to meet you, can you give our readers some background information on yourself please?


I grew up in Powys in the countryside on the outskirts of various small villages and towns (we moved a lot) although my mum now lives in Carmarthenshire in the countryside.  I started off wanting to be an actress and moved to London and trained at RADA when I was in my early twenties.  I acted professionally for some years, mostly in theatre and ran a theatre company with some friends for a while that did fringe shows in pub theatres in London and then I got to my mid-thirties and decided I needed to do something different so I went to University in York and did an MA in theatre writing, directing and performance.  When I decided to become a mature student I didn’t really have a new career in mind, I just wanted a degree because when I was at RADA you didn’t get one.  I was never particularly studious in High School (although I was always good at English and Drama) and I hadn’t written an essay since GCSE’s so I was amazed and thrilled to discover I was really good at it and that I really loved the playwriting part of the course especially.  I left with a distinction and hangover and haven’t stopped writing since.

So what got you interested in the arts?

My parents split up when I was two years old and my dad went back to London where he was from and my mum and I went to live in Wales.  My dad came from a working class background where no one in his family were interested in the arts but somehow he developed a love of the theatre and used to go to loads of plays and get the cheap seats way up in the gods and he also loves books and films and art, and passed all that on to me.  When I was three he got us cheap seats to see Peter Pan at the National Theatre and I was totally enthralled by it and apparently when we left the theatre I said ‘that’s what I want to do dad.’ So from then on whenever I went to visit him in London he would take me to the theatre, he’d take me to see Shakespeare, Chekhov, Tom Stoppard, Samuel Beckett and I just loved it, not that I totally understood everything that was going on but there was something magical about it all the same.  


My mum encouraged me to join Mid Powys Youth Theatre and Powys Dance when I was a teenager and I was really lucky to have some fabulous teachers and directors working with me who were really inspiring and got us all to work really hard and research whatever we were doing a show about – for example we did a show called ‘Frida and Diego’ about Frieda Kahlo and Diego Rivera so you had a bunch of kids in Wales learning about Mexican revolutionary painters and Mexican culture and Mexican dancing – totally mad and brilliant (not sure our accents were that authentic though!).  Mid Powys Youth Theatre won the National Youth Theatre awards twice and we got to come up to London to perform at the National Theatre – which was so exciting for all of us as teenagers as you can imagine.  


And my dance teacher at Powys Dance gave me my first professional job; touring a dance piece around Wales – which was during my GCSE’s so I’d finish and exam and leg it out the school gates to jump in a tour bus, go and perform and be back in school the next day for another exam.  I couldn’t have done any of that without the support of my parents so I’m really grateful to them for encouraging me to pursue the things I loved.  


Your new play Pavilion opens at Theatr Clwyd this autumn before then playing at The Riverfront in Newport. The production  has a wonderful tag line of “Dance.Drink.Fight.Snog” please tell us more!

The play is set in an old run down Pavilion where the local Friday night disco takes place every week and the whole community is out because the Pavilion is about to be closed down.  There has also been a protest that day about the High School being closed and merged with another school in a nearby town – so everyone’s a bit on edge.  One of the unique things about growing up in a small town is there’s only one place to go out and dance, so young and old have to socialise with one another and everyone knows everyone which makes for great drama and comedy.  So it’s a play about the effects of austerity on a rural community but it’s also a loud, raucous, all singing, all dancing, funny night out in a town full of larger than life characters.  


Pavilion takes place in a “small town in a forgotten corner of Wales.” As a Welsh writer how do you feel Wales has been represented on stage and screen recently?

We don’t see nearly enough stories about the Nations on our screens and stages and personally I think it’s important that we do, I feel representing the whole of the UK should be part of the diversity that theatre and television and film are aiming for.  We have a divided country at the moment so the arts has a really important role to play in representing the parts of the UK that feel invisible and unheard – people within the London bubble need to see our stories too.  How else will we begin to understand one another?


I’m interested in learning about other cultures and it’s been wonderful to see productions like Nine Night, Leave Taking or The Barbershop Chronicles and see a new audience in those theatres that are really excited to see their lives being represented on stage, I found it very moving to see that happening, I was watching the audience as much as I was watching the plays.  I’d hope audiences would be interested in learning about Wales: a country right on their doorstep with a fascinating history and it’s own language that they know very little about.  I have lived in London for 21 years now and in the theatre especially it’s rare to see a Welsh play about Wales, or a Scottish play about Scotland, Ireland gets a little bit more of a look in.  Things are starting to improve on television with the BBC encouraging writers in both the regions and the Nations by creating writing groups that help them into the industry – I was part of the BBC Wales ‘Welsh Voices’ group this year in Cardiff. 

And of course we have a very exciting boom of production companies starting up in Cardiff which have brought us some great TV shows like Keeping Faith and Hinterland – may they lead to many more!  As far as films go Submarine was fab, Craig Roberts has written and directed some interesting films recently and Pride was wonderful (although I would have preferred a few more Welsh actors).  

Tamara Harvey and the team at Theatr Clwyd have really invested and supported Welsh Playwrights. How did you become aware of the theatre and Tamara’s work supporting Welsh writers?


When I’d finished a second draft of Pavilion I contacted a tutor of mine at RADA, Lloyd Trott, he does a lot of work with emerging writers and arranged a table read, and workshop with RADA graduates and students.  He suggested we arrange a rehearsed reading and that I invite Tamara to come along.  She came up and saw the reading and then finally after a long hiatus she called me totally out of the blue (a year later) and said she wanted to do my play.  One of the most exciting phone calls of my life! 


I didn’t have an agent at the time so I had sent the play to every British theatre that had open submissions and received really glowing feedback from all of them but it was always ‘We loved it, it’s like a modern day Under Milk Wood but it’s not for us, good luck.’  Part of the problem being it’s a massive cast of eleven actors which costs a lot, theatre’s don’t have any money and I’m a totally unknown writer – so I really stacked the odds against myself ever getting this play on – looking back I should have written a play with two people in one room talking but unfortunately that is not the play I wanted to write!  So Tamara and Theatr Clwyd have really done something quite unheard of and amazing by deciding to put it on regardless of those things I am eternally grateful to them for their support.

Theatr Clwyd, Artistic Director, Tamara Harvey

Get the Chance works to support a diverse range of members of the public to access cultural provision Are you aware of any barriers to equality and diversity for either Welsh or Wales based artists? 


Well I feel I’ve answered this slightly already.  There is a barrier in Welsh writers getting our work on outside of Wales.  But I also think poverty is an issue – we need funding to be able support emerging writers and directors from working class backgrounds.  If you’re from a really poor family, you can’t afford to be part of a residency if it’s not paid or it doesn’t help with accommodation that’s going to be a big deterrent.  


In terms of public access, the lack of transport to the small number of theatres there are is a barrier – Theatr Clwyd is an incredible theatre but it is hard to get to if you don’t own a car – the council used to fund a local taxi company to lay on three buses a week that would collect anyone that couldn’t get to the theatre but with all the funding cuts that service is now gone.  I think that’s a crying shame for the theatre and for the audience because it meant that the elderly, the disabled, young people who can’t drive yet and just people who couldn’t afford a car, could go for a night out.  When I was a teenager we lived in a small town and my mum had to get rid of our car for a number of years because she was unemployed and there was no way to get anywhere to go and see anything.

If you were able to fund an area of the arts in Wales what would this be and why?

That’s such a difficult question because there’s loads of things I would like to fund.  But I think youth engagement is really important so I would want to put funding into that – funding to make sure that every child has access to a youth theatre, a dance centre, an art class or a writing class, music whatever it may be – and crucially enough funding that the organisation is subsidised so that children whose parents are on benefits can still afford to go.  All these groups allow young people to meet each other and encourage them to express themselves and to think about the world and their part in it.  Art encourages empathy and there’s nothing more important than that right now.  

What excites you about the arts in Wales? 

I think it’s a really exciting time for the arts in Wales.  The theatre scene in Cardiff has grown so much since I was a young, from home grown companies like Dirty Protest, Hijinx, and Chippylane to small venues like The Other Room and because of this there are a lot more Welsh writers around making their mark.  The new BBC Wales building and the television production company boom means there are more jobs in that sector in Wales than there has ever been so getting into the production side of the business is now a real possibility for young people in Wales and doesn’t feel so out of reach.  Theatr Clwyd are making great work in co-production with London theatre’s so is The Sherman, and NTW is touring round Wales taking projects to places that don’t have easy access to a theatre of their own – all really important, plus all these theatre’s are working with new writers which is fantastic. 

What was the last really great thing that you experienced that you would like to share with our readers? 

Another really difficult question because I’ve seen so much great work this year.  But I guess the show which I can’t get out of my head is Cyprus Avenue by David Ireland – a writer from Northern Ireland – which was on at The Royal Court earlier this year.  The premise of the play is: an old unionist in Belfast is suffering with dementia and believes his new baby granddaughter to be a reincarnation of Gerry Adams. 


It was a surreal, obviously hilarious and at the same time deeply disturbing play that was an examination of blind hatred.  The play could only really end one way and he certainly didn’t chicken out. You spent the entire play crying with laughter but with this growing unease at what was coming.  He had us in the palm of his hand.  It also made me realise I don’t know nearly as much as I should about Northern Ireland and then we’re back to what I was saying earlier about diversity and representation.

I love a play that is politically charged but manages to still be funny and entertaining.  That balance of drama and comedy is, such an effective way to get an audience lured in and invested.  Humour is so important.  I talked about it for weeks afterwards.

REVIEW The Lady Vanishes UK TOUR, New Theatre Cardiff by Barbara Hughes-Moore

Alfred Hitchcock’s 1938 thriller The Lady Vanishes remains one of the hallmarks of the genre, and the Classic Thriller Theatre Company (presented by Bill Kenwright) has brought the story to vivid life on its excellent UK tour. Despite its distinctly Agatha Christie-esque trappings, the original film, scripted by Sidney Gilliat and Frank Launder, was actually based on the novel ‘The Wheel Spins’ by Ethel Lina White, although the mystery is a top-quality Christie-style affair.

The story: on brink of World War II, pampered socialite Iris (Lorna Fitzgerald) is anxious to reunite with her Lordly fiancée on her way back to England. On the train ride home she strikes up a friendship with Miss Froy (Juliet Mills), a former governess who takes care of Iris after a bump on the head, and whose subsequent disappearance Iris is determined to solve – despite the other passengers denying they ever saw Miss Froy at all.

Although I was vaguely familiar with the synopsis (and wrongly convinced that it was an Agatha Christie joint), the rest of the story was new to me, and kept me guessing as to the compelling mystery at the heart of it. Is the conspiracy over Miss Froy’s disappearance (indeed, Miss Froy’s very existence) just a product of the injury to Iris’ head? Or is she being gaslit by unknown assailants for some nefarious purpose? The exact nature of events isn’t revealed until the end, but the setting and time period might provide some clues along the way.

The striking first image sets the scene in malevolently epic fashion: the curtain rises on a train station swathed in swastikas, in which Nazi officers mingle with ordinary citizens in a shockingly routine manner. It is an especially haunting visual because of how accustomed the characters are to this occurrence, and how this chillingly reflects the way in which Fascism is becoming insidiously normalised in the current political climate. It renders the story – over eighty years old at this point – powerfully relevant in our day and age.

Roy Marsden’s marvellous direction and Antony Lampard’s agile script have produced a tight, nimble thriller in which the puzzle pieces are a joy to assemble and the story whips along at the same breakneck pace with which the train dashes through the Austrian Alps. As Iris, Fitzgerald wonderfully grounds the piece, crafting an affecting transformation from superficial to superstitious, and remaining endlessly sympathetic throughout. Her chemistry with Matt Barber’s elegantly affable Max is sublime; Barber brings a terrific Benedict Cumberbatch-esque flair to proceedings, and his good-natured bemusement provides an effective counterpoint to Fiztgerald’s harried resolve. The way in which the mutually antagonistic relationship between these unwitting detectives mutates into one of trust and esteem is one of the play’s loveliest lynchpins.

The play is helmed by acting icons Juliet Mills (as the vanished lady herself) and Maxwell Caulfield (as the genially dubious neurologist Dr Hartz). Although they aren’t in as much of the play as I presumed, they both make a tremendous impression with their superb performances that are a credit to the calibre of their acting credentials. The production excels in both in its mystery and (delightfully) in its comedy, with the latter largely owing to the often-oblivious antics of country-hopping cricket fanatics Charters and Caldicott (Robert Duncan and Ben Nealon), but the play deftly weaves comedy into the mystery and is thoroughly entertaining throughout.

Designed by Morgan Large, the set is both gorgeously authentic and splendidly theatrical, an artistic marvel that is worth seeing the play for alone. Sumptuously realised and innovatively adaptable, the train in which most of the action takes place is animated by Charlie Morgan Jones’ inventive lighting, the collaboration of which crafts a magical visual experience that gives the sensation that you – the audience – are on the train with the characters.

Star-studded, sumptuously crafted and swiftly paced, this UK tour of The Lady Vanishes is a wonderful theatrical mystery that you owe yourself the joy of unravelling. (I would also direct you to Donna Poynton’s excellent review of the show, especially as Donna is more familiar with Classic Thriller Theatre Company’s repertoire ). It will be playing at the New Theatre through Saturday 20th July, after which it will conclude its tour in Leeds until 27th July.

Review Much Ado About Nothing, Everyman Theatre, Cardiff by Rhys Payne

3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)

Much Ado About Nothing performed by Everyman Theatre Company, Directed by David Mercatali the Cardiff open-air festival in Sophia Garden’s was a fantastic evening of classic theatre combined with extraordinary comedy.


This show had a somewhat slow start and took a while for the story to establish itself and for the audience to understand who is who and what the general ideas of the play are going to be.

Benard, who played the role of Claudio, appeared to channel a slow-witted sidekick who provided very many of the entertaining moments of this play. His physicality and facial reactions were excellent, he was very comical which had the audience laughing. It was really interesting to see this character portrayed as a side-kick to Benedick and the captain and I think this help establish the character’s position in the group.

Benedick himself, played by Luke Mercent, was a very believable ‘baby-face’ hero. He was a very relatable character while being strong and inspiring from the audience. The really interesting aspect of the character was his monologues. Traditionally, monologues are delivered on the stage as if the character is talking to themselves with the audience ‘overhearing’ it, but this production had the character of Benedick (among others) delivered their monologue within the audience and spoken directly to members of the audience.This makes it much more personal and was a really great inclusion which shows both classic theatre understanding as well as flawless modernisation from a directorial perspective. Glyn Thomas delivered a chillingly scary portrayal of the character ‘Don John’ who is the main villain of the play. His voice was frightening and he expressed the character as methodical and calculating. He personified the character perfectly and could be used as an example of how aspiring actors can play the Shakespearian villains.


One of the most comical characters in this play was dogberry who was played by Sarah Bawler. She performed this role with a strong Welsh accent and was a character of the typical Welsh women. Her chemistry with Verges, played by Phil Gerken, provided many hilarious scenes due to the contrast of the two characters.

Two of the things that this show did excellently was the use of voice and musical instruments. Many of the actors used multiple voices to show how their character really feels. We had characters vocally being scared, in love, excited and over the top fake acting (which was one of the funniest scenes in the entire play.) these were performed clearly and perfectly. The use of instruments was also fantastic as they actually had the performers play on stage. I have seen productions of shows where the actors pretend to play instruments which is obviously fake and distracting for the audience. However, this was not the case for this play and the music itself provide a small break from the complex and deep story-lines of Shakespearian theatre.

Obviously, Much Ado About Nothing is a comedy and so the directors have organised the play accordingly. They managed to perfectly blend the concept of a Shakespearian comedy (where there is a marriage, use of double entendre and irony) with modern comedy (which includes slapstick and physical comedy) to create the perfect comedy play. The reason this is so important to this play is because of the complex use of Shakespearian language, this is not something we are used to. It takes a lot of focus and concentration from the audience to fully understand what is being said and the inclusion of comedy allows a small break in the intense concentration which was done excellently by this cast.

However, I did feel that at times this play tried to be something it’s not. Much Ado is a classic piece of theatre and if the directors want to reimagine it to be modern that that is great but this play seemed to all go halfway into the new generation. At the end of the play were heard Crazy In Love being played which is an extremely modern song by Beyoncé but the play still used the traditional language and was set in a time much before this decade. Also, at two points in the play, the actors started to sing which was interesting as it is a play and not a musical. Thirdly, there was a small scene in Act Two with audience participation and people from the audience being brought onto the stage which didn’t really make sense or add to the story and in all honesty, could have not been included.

Although it was not the cast or crews’ fault, there was bar holDing up the cover of the seating which blocked my view of center stage and at times I could not see what was happening on stage and also there was very loud motorbike noises throughout which did distract from the play and made the dialogue hard to hear.


Overall, this as a play that respects the classical traditions of Shakespeare theatre while adding some new contemporary elements. The comedy in this play was excellent and the actors performed very well and made all the characters appear believable and relatable. I would rate this production 3 and a half stars and would encourage any fan of classical theatre to catch this show before it leaves the festival on Saturday the 20th July.

Review Mark Watson, Theatr Clwyd by Russell Williams

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

To begin, Mark, unlike other comedians, does not have a warm-up act; he takes on the role himself as he likes to use this time to get the feel for his audience.

Mister Watson is not your usual joke-a-minute comedian, instead he takes a more subtle approach; his gags disguised along the way in what seem to be quite personal, relatable life stories.

He speaks warmly of his children and the difficulties navigating their childhood using audience participation from people who have experienced some of the same occurrences, with some hilarious outcomes. He also talks of his ex-wife and divorce in the same manner, again with very funny outcomes from the audience inclusion.

During the interval there are cards laid on for the public to ask Mark questions or make any statements they would like him to acknowledge, the outcomes of these cards and Mark’s reactions to them are ‘throw your head back and roar’ material.

To wrap up, Mark Watson was warm, friendly and exceedingly funny. He loves his audience and his time on the stage. I would recommend Mark’s show without hesitation.

Thanks, Mark, for a great night! I did not stop laughing!

Why working with Yeah Yeah takes you to a Magical Place!

Get the Chance are working with new theatre company YEAH YEAH to support audiences to attend a sharing of an in development piece of work, Magical Place and then discuss their thoughts. The sharing will take place at Chapter Arts Centre on Saturday the 13th July at 7.30pm. Please contact the venue to book a free ticket.

In the article below some of the creative team share their involvement in this new production and why its a must see production!

Hazel Anderson, Director

Hi Hazel, you are the Director of Magical Place how did you come to be involved with the company?

I was recommended to Tori and Morgan. They got in touch with a video of their sharing and the ambition for the piece. I was hooked from the get-go. My back ground is in work that puts the audience in the experience. Where there is no forth wall and the relationship is directly between the performers and the audience. It’s exciting, responsive, and open to anything happening.

Likely Story, Giant Who Had No Heart In His Body, Rachel Otterway Photography


I joined them for phase two of the development and we immediately jumped on to the scanned page, same sense of humour and the same desire to be silly and entertaining for entertainments sake. We explored what could be at the heart of the piece. I was delighted to be invited back to play again.

Why should audiences come and see this new production?

The show Morgan and Tori are creating is a world away from where they started. People should come to see it because it’s going to be fun to watch! An absolutely brilliant 45 mins of pure unadulterated rock and roll and musical escapism! Its a fun, ridiculously funny show with two talented and passionate performers. I’d be hard pushed to believe there isn’t something in it for everyone.

Dan Soley, Composer

Hi Dan you are the Composer of Magical Place how did you come to be involved with the company?

I met Morgan originally whilst we were both working with Hijinx Odyssey on their fab production Second Star to the Right in late 2017.

I think it was a disco track made for synchronised swimming merpeople that caught his ear to begin with. He introduced me to Tori and Yeah Yeah and I’ve collaborated with them since, developing some music and sound ideas for their show.  

Why should audiences come and see this new production?

The rock and musical theatre face-off packs loads of great tunes into this jukebox performance. It’s proven difficult to not have a splitting grin on your face whilst watching what really becomes downright, yet inventive, silliness. But I believe there’s also this kind of beautiful relatability to it all for everyone, which sweetens the package quite wholesomely.

Chelsey Gillard, Dramaturg.

Hi Chelsey you are the Dramaturg of Magical Place how did you come to be involved with the company?

I was invited to see the very first sharing of Magical Place a few years ago. After the sharing I didn’t really know what to say so I went away and had a think about what feedback might be useful to the company. We arranged to meet up a few weeks later and chat about the project. I was really honest about what I liked and disliked about what I had seen and let Yeah Yeah know that I thought they were making something really exciting unlike anything I had ever seen. 

From there we keep chatting about the project and then Yeah Yeah invited me to work with them on their next R&D. Usually I work as a director but I knew on this project I would be more useful as an outside eye or critical friend, checking in with the progress of the project from time to time and asking lots of questions. 

Why should audiences come and see this new production?

This show will make you laugh until you cry. It’s a joyful explosion of music and dancing to some of the very best anthems of rock and musical theatre. Tori and Morgan are full of infectious laughter and genuinely super talented. It will make you feel good and believe anything is possible.

Review WNO Summer Opera Classic Concert, Theatr Hafren, Newtown. By Barbara Michaels

Conductor: Harry Ogg

Soloists: Joyce El-Khoury and Jason Howard

Soloists: Joyce El-Khoury and Jason Howard

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

What a treat for opera lovers in mid-Wales to have WNO favourites Joyce El-Khoury and Welsh baritone Jason Howard performing here in their midst, in the Summer Opera Classics concert at the Theatr Hafren in Newtown. 

Under the baton of young conductor Harry Ogg, who took up his position as WNO Associate conductor earlier this summer, the concert featured both popular classical opera favourites such as La ci darem la mano from Mozart’s Don Giovanni, plus songs from musical theatre – namely South Pacific – including the universally popular Some Enchanted Evening. The latter showcased Howard’s role in the touring production of the show, providing an easy entrée for anyone dipping their toes into the world of opera for the first time; a realisation, perhaps, that the genres not infrequently have a musical reference to one another.

With the two soloists on stage either separately or together for most of the programme, interspersed with a sprinkling of orchestral items which included the delightful waltz from Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, this was a concert with a well-balanced choice of music to delight on a summer evening. Bringing her own special magic to the occasion, Joyce El-Khoury as ever, held her audience enthralled.  Her skill as an outstanding soprano is indisputable, plus the fact that El-Khoury manages to make reaching even the highest notes seem effortless.  After a majestic performance by the orchestra of the WNO which opened the concert, El Khoury’s singing of D’amor sulll’all rosee from Verdi’s Il Trovatore could best be described as liquid gold, followed by Howard’s simpatico rendering of the lyrical intermezzo from Masagri’s Cavalleria Rusticana.

A perfect pairing, this, of El -Khoury and Howard. The chemistry between these two accomplished artistes was evident in their duets, in the highly charged and musically challenging Pari, siamo soli from Verdi’s Rigoletto and climaxing in the waltz duet which forms the finale from Franz Lehar’s Merry Widow – perhaps not surprisingly as the singers are partners in real life!

It is not easy to create the atmosphere of grand opera in a concert hall or theatre with no scenery and full marks to Ogg , a slight but autoreactive figure on the rostrum, and the orchestra of the WNO for achieving this despite having journeyed for some hundred miles for this, the final performance of their Summer Opera Classics tour.

Performance on Friday July 5 at Theatr Hafren, Newtown.

Review Tolkien by Jonathan Evans

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

With a lot of the great artist, you can look into their lives and find a key moment or time in their lives that greatly affected them and can be found throughout their work. H.P. Lovecraft’s father was put in a mental asylum, Akira Kurosawa was witness to the mass of dead bodies in the Great Kanto Earthquake, and Alfred Hitchcock was traumatised at a young age when his mother told a policeman to put him in a jail cell for an afternoon.

Not all artists need an origin story like this but many do have a key incident in their lives that can be found within their work. Tolkien tells the story of the man that would reshape the Fantasy genre and make one of the biggest impacts on literature and what events shaped him to be able to write them.

An important element that should be talked about with any bio picture, do you need to know about the person or their work before going in? I believe if the movie is of any true merit then no, you shouldn’t have to be in the know before entering the movie theatre, a movie should be able to stand on its own without homework beforehand. That said, the people that do know about the person’s life and work will probably find themselves more at home and able to fill in the blanks and connect when certain words are said. But a good bio should please the fans and be just as engaging for someone who knows nothing about it (and if it really does its job, it’ll turn them into fans).

Opening the movie is our main character in one of the worst places during one of the worst times, the trenches during the First World War. We see him in the midst of a fever while bombs are going off, bullets are flying and muds splattering around him, but he tells his ward that he needs to get closer to the action to find his friend, he needs to make sure he’s alright. We then are taken back, to when the man was a boy and enjoyed time in the forest playing with his brother, reading and making up stories.

Due to the death of their mother, they are sent to a special school because of the benefit of a patron. While there young John Ronald Reuel Tolkien is clearly greatly intelligent, well versed in literature and very comfortable with a book in front of him (as well as able to speak Latin and other languages). While at this school he gathers three friends, Geoffery (Anthony Boyle), Robert (Patrick Gibson) and Christopher (Tom Glyn-Carney). Together they form a friendship built on the appreciation of the arts and dedicate themselves to changing the world through art, each with their respective field, literature, music, poem, painting, and music.

Nicholas Holt himself is responsible for bringing this wonderful portrayal to life, the script gives him plenty to sink his teeth into but a good script can only help an actor so much. Holt is able to hone in on the characters passion for words and language and the way he observes beauty in the world and is entranced by it but is also compelled to tell stories that make the character come alive. There’s also some joking around and tender emotional moments in there for texture than make it a fully realised performance of a character.

Nicholas Hoult in the film TOLKIEN. Photo by David Appleby. © 2019 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved

if you know Tolkeins work or have at least seen The Lord of The Rings movies then you can probably grasp those stories are about humble people that start off in a simple place and enjoy the simple things. Then some great evil comes to threaten everything and they are thrown into a world of looming evil, of fire and mud. This contrast is present here in the movie, from a rich world of cake, tea, and art to a shaking unstable landscape that seems to have abandoned hope and civilization. What Tolkein and this movie does is take the two and link them for we understand the scale that humanity is capable of.

An element that would usually be the weakest element of another movie is the romance part of the narrative. Tolkien had a wife that he spent his life with and I’m sure it was a perfectly happy marriage. But with these movies, it seems like they need to throw that in there to make sure the movie checks all the boxes. Action? Check! Drama? Check! Song? Check! Romance? Check! But there is one here and it flourishes! It’s a wonderful layering in the movie, the character and enjoyable experience in its own right. This works because a) the characters were written with things in common and b) the actors themselves (Lily Collins) have chemistry together so they elevate the material of the script to something that you engage with. Furthermore, this is not a standard fairy-tale told on tracks, these people have similar interests as well as disagree and have arguments, like real people. Do I see it as being tagged on later in development? Yes, but they also made it work. 

Biopics are in no short supply these days but few of them really know what story they are telling, just a collage of events from the subjects life stitched together and we are pushed through it. This movie knows what it wants to say “Where did this great writer who changed a genre get his inspiration?” We learn and understand the man and are moved by it. This is a movie that looks on a mans life and knows where to focus itself.

An Invite to Visit the Magical Place

Get the Chance are working with new theatre company YEAH YEAH to support audiences to attend a sharing of an in development piece of work and then discuss their thoughts. The sharing will take place at Chapter Arts Centre on Saturday the 13th July at 7.30pm.

Please get in touch of you would like to attend.

https://www.chapter.org/whats-on/performance/magical-place-yeah-yeah/3532

YEAH YEAH are a new Cardiff theatre company developing uplifting gig theatre. A crossover for those that might enjoy a musical, tribute band, stand-up comedy, or a touch of ballet.

The work in development (working title) ‘Magical Place’ is free to attend.

Expect iconic songs you know and love plus drums, keytar, lycra, laughs, dance and the biggest pyrotechnics they can afford, Magical Place is a new work still in development and the company welcome your feedback

Please note, that this is a sharing of a work in progress, and therefore not the complete anticipated production. Sections of the work will be performed, with the aim to gather audience feedback. Audience members participating in feedback will earn two Tempo Time Credits for volunteering their time.

Tori is here to perform a musical, Morgan is here to perform a rock show.

So expect iconic musical and rock songs you know and love; comedy, dance, live drums, keytar and lycra.”

Age 16+

Duration: 1hr (which will include optional audience feedback)

Performers & Devisors: Tori Johns, Morgan Thomas

Director: Hazel Anderson

Dramaturg: Chelsey Gillard

Lighting & Sound: Gavin Hales

A co-production with RCT Theatres / Angela Gould

Funded by Arts Council Wales

Review Yesterday by Kevin Johnson

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The latest film Directed by Danny Boyle and written by Richard Curtis is an interesting and very amusing ‘what if?’ idea about everyone in the world forgetting about the songs written by The Beatles, apart from one man.

That man is Jack Malik, aspiring musician, who’s tried to make it big for over ten years and failed. Now the key to success is in his hands, the ‘poison chalice’ of fame and money is offered to him, but is he ready to pay the price for it when the price is his integrity, his self-respect and his true love?

Of course he is! 

What follows is a funny, charming and well-made film, which makes some good points about how art becomes ‘product’, and how success changes people. There’s also some touching moments that avoid overt sentimentality (just), while still being very moving. Including one scene towards the end that’ll make you misty-eyed, but more on that I cannot say. You’ll know it when you see it.

There’s also a nice running joke about other things that have disappeared along with Lennon & McCartney’s music, and a decent cameo from Ed Sheeran. You can’t say fairer than that.

Boyle shows a visual flair, enhancing a script that is polished Curtis, giving it a more universal feel than the usual middle-class London scene, and it’s all the better for it. But it does have flaws.

Hamesh Patel is endearing as Jack, even though his motivation seems muddled at times. While Lily James as his longtime friend/love interest doesn’t really have a lot to do. And her surprise visit to Jack in Liverpool is so confusing to him (and us) that it makes you sympathetic as to why Jack never realised her true feelings.

There’s a good supporting cast, such as Sanjeev Baskhar as Jack’s dad, but Kate McKinnon is wasted as the stereotypical greedy agent, whose sole aim seems to be to buy up all of Malibu. I’ve yet to see her in a role that does justice to her talent.

The ending is also a little odd, and a good cameo from Sarah Lancashire hints at an interesting plot line that is never developed.

However, despite promising more than it delivers, there’s plenty to enjoy here. The film has an innovative idea at its heart, and the real star of the show is the music of the Beatles. Seen in one go, so to speak, you realise just how wonderful the songs are. Who can blame Jack when he decides to ‘re-discover’ them?

Top Tunes with Phil Clark

Hi Phil, great to meet you, can you give our readers some background information on yourself please?

I am a professional Theatre Director , I work Internationally. I also work as a visual artist.

Brecon Beacons (Gouache)

This chat is specifically about music and the role it has played in your personal and professional life. To start off what are you currently listening to?

I am listening to the songs of Irving Berlin. I’m about to direct Noel Cowards play BLITHE SPIRIT at Aldeburgh Jubilee Hall, Suffolk. The production runs from Tue 23rd July 2019 – Sat 31st August 2019.

The play is set in the 1940s so I’m immersing myself in the music of the period. I use music in my work all the time. I often direct shows created by actor/musicians.

In the Autumn this year we will be remounting the National Theatre Wales production of PEGGY’S SONG by Welsh playwright Katherine Chandler and starring Christian Patterson. This is one of a series of plays by Welsh writers in response to the anniversary of the NHS and the unique vision of the glorious Nye Bevan.

The play centres around a character who is a volunteer within the NHS. A volunteer DJ who, by his very being, proves that music can be a healer and how music is essential to our existence because unlike tablets it can touch, disturb and mend our soul. To know more. Come and see us on tour this Autumn. Its a great night out!

We are interviewing a range of people about their own musical inspiration, can you list 5 records/albums which have a personal resonance to you and why?

1 BLUE Joni Mitchell This is the record of my teenage years

2 EVERYTHING MUST GO  Manic Street Preachers. I directed Patrick Jones play of the same name that used the music of the Manics

3 TAKE THAT GREATEST HITS….because!!!!!!

LADY IN SATIN  Billie HolidayI have everything that Billie ever recorded

5 WEST SIDE STORY Original Soundtrack The greatest musical of all time

Just to put you on the spot could you choose one track from the five listed above and tell us why you have chosen this?

STRANGE FRUIT Billie Holiday  A beautiful song that perfectly brings together form and content. Amazing. Never ceases to move me