Theatre in Wales

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Blair and the knights of the round table     

This item is from the WESTERN MAIL

COMPARING King Arthur and his knights of the round table to Tony Blair and his Cabinet was an easy thing for Welsh playwright Lewis Davies.

The Neath-born writer took his inspiration for Hijinx Theatre's latest production from the Kennedy administration in 1960s USA, which styled itself as Camelot.

Spinning The Round Table will tour theatres and schools around Wales, combining passion and politics with the Arthurian legend and putting it into a modern tale of love, power and betrayal.

"It's Camelot and the court of Tony Blair, a reworking of the Arthurian legend in a modern political bent," said Lewis.

"It is in a setting that emphasises the people in politics rather than the front that you see when you watch the news.

"It's a look behind the power."

The play is a collaboration between Lewis and director Chris Morgan, who has a personal interest in the Arthurian legend.

Lewis said, "Chris has a fascination with Camelot and the way the Kennedy administration in the US used Camelot to put a spin on the administration so they could control how they were perceived by the public.

"That resonates with how the Labour Government has attempted to control the media and the way politicians like to be presented.

"It is a modern perspective of how people and politics mix and how it's not all politics and it's not all people, it's a mix of those things and what is thrown up in front of us, how power is misused and how even with good intentions people can get waylaid by events."

Lewis, who was born in Penrhiwtyn, near Neath, started writing professionally 10 years ago. He now has three novels and a travelogue to his name.

He also runs Parthian Books, the small company he set up 10 years ago in order to publish his debut novel.

Lewis said working with Hijinx was something he had been looking forward to.

"Hijinx is a company I have enjoyed watching over a number of years, they are one of the longest running theatre companies in Wales and undertake spectacularly challenging tours around the country.

"It's a company that has produced writers such as Sharon Morgan and it's a company I would have always liked to have worked with.

"I hope this play will be a success, you work to the best of your ability and this is a play I want to entertain audiences with.

"With the group of actors we have got, there are laughs right through the play and I hope that will come across in the good two hours in the theatre, that is one of Hijinx's strengths.

"They have been able to attract a very wide audience through their productions and hopefully this will be the same."

The production team for Spinning The Round Table includes Blaanid Madrell (set and costume designer), James Williams (music), Sarah Marshall (company stage manager) and Simon Gough (lighting and production manager).

Spinning The Round Table will open at Whitchurch High School, Cardiff on Tuesday, before touring small scale venues across Wales and England, returning home to the Wales Millennium Centre on December 9 and 10.

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Saturday, September 17, 2005back

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