Theatre in Wales

Commentary and extended critical writing on theatre, dance and performance in Wales

My Year of Theatre 2009

In Cardiff, Edinburgh, Clwyd & Aberystwyth

The touring companies this year made for an exceptional list. The RSC and Ireland's Druid were at the Sherman, Headlong and Peter Hall at the New Theatre and Propellor at Aberystwyth. I saw “Cabaret” for a second time in Cardiff, proof that Rufus Norris had turned it into something tough for grown-ups. With “Orphans” I saw a first Dennis Kelly play and with “Days of Significance” a first Roy Williams play.

From the Welsh productions the ballet from “The King and I” in Anthony Williams' staging, “The Small House of Thomas”, was superb. I was impressed by Clwyd's choice of “Mary Stuart” in Mike Poulton’s adaptation. My phrasing at the time: “Terry Hands’ direction is burnished steel.” Philip Breen put on an effervescent “Thoroughly Modern Millie” with a large cast headed by Claire Dunne and Tom Cullen.

Peter Doran toured “She Stoops to Conquer” with the Mappa Mundi-Mwldan partnership. As with “Millie...” I took a twelve year old, a risk, but he was much tickled. Familiar faces were to be seen. “With her peacock feathers, her piled-high hair, her chalk-white face, her blush and beauty spots Kathryn Dimery’s Mrs Hardcastle is a squawking fright. Keiron Self’s socially timorous Charles Marlow takes deep hyper-ventilating breaths to prepare himself for his romantic interview. In contrast Richard Nichols’ Hastings is all urbane calculation.”

A new company Citrus Arts were also in Aberystwyth. The best visiting show in an exceptional year was "the Pitmen Painters."

My top five of the year, strictly alphabetical, were:

“The King and I”: Aberystwyth Arts Centre

“Mary Stuart”: Theatr Clwyd Cymru

“She Stoops to Conquer”: Mappa Mundi & Theatr Mwldan

“Thoroughly Modern Millie”: Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama

“Wardrobe Diaries”: Citrus Arts, Newport Riverfront & Creu Cymru

author:Adam Somerset

original source:
31 December 2009


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