Theatre in Wales

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The Life of Ryan and Ronnie     

Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff Wed 12-Sat 29 Oct

Welsh drama supremo Meic Povey returns to the capital with his second English-language play. Based on the relationship between the enigmatic '70s entertainment duo Ryan Davies and Ronnie Williams, this new commission is a big-noise production that attempts to pin down the reasons for both their personal and professional chemistry. Much like the double act it portrays, the play marries differing strands of the entertainmentworld incorporating song and cabaret as well as comedy and 'straight' drama chronicling the pairs highs and lows as they frenetically tour all four corners of the country.

Povey has long wanted to write about these Welsh folk heroes because, as he says, ?They were the first and perhaps the last act in Wales that bridged the difference between Welsh- and English-language entertainment so successfully; they spoke Welsh in English.? This two-hander is prime Povey; pacey, punchy with splash of tear-stained poignancy. It also does what few modern dramas do, which is explore the pleasures, pressures and permutations of a male friendship in all its flawed and fraught intimacy.

The dialogue is real and affecting and never veers into schmaltzy corniness or clunking cliché. Povey?s ear for natural rhythms of speech and a believable turn of phrase is flowing and unforced. The performance of Kai Owen and Aled Pugh avoid caricature and impersonation and stand alone in their own right; their timing and projection are polished stand-outs. A well-crafted, well-written play that should please the critics and, more importantly, the punters.

Admission: from £8, no under-16s.
web site
Info: 08700 402000 Jason Jones
Friday, September 16, 2005back



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