Theatre in Wales

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Spanish Lies     

Grand Theatre, Swansea, from Tuesday until May 10 and then moves to the Coliseum in Aberdare from May 19 until 24.

What better way to celebrate 25 years of wedded (sort-of) bliss than to revisit your honeymoon for a trip down memory lane.

In Frank Vickery's Spanish Lies, Dougie does just that, taking wife Lorna to the Majorcan hotel they first visited as newlyweds to celebrate their silver wedding anniversary.

But it's more heartbreak hotel than happy holidays for the couple, who find the rain in Spain isn't the only thing to put a dampener on things.

Dougie had been hoping to put a spark back in their flagging relationship but wasn't expecting the fireworks that the holiday brings.

The hotel is still managed by the same couple, Regietta and her husband Miguel, the local Casanova whom Lorna fell for all those years before.

Her affair is brought to life as she, Miguel and Regietta step back into their younger selves to re-enact the events of 25 years ago.

So the audience has the wicked pleasure of eavesdropping on decisions made a quarter of a century ago with the knowledge of what actually happened later.

The problem is that Lorna isn't happy to be back where she was all those years ago - she hates realising what hasn't been achieved since she got married, and remembering all those youthful hopes and dreams.

Frank Vickery, Wales's answer to Alan Ayckbourn, says this play is one of his favourites.

"It's a humorous play but also has poignant moments.

"It's a look at the themes of marriage and commitment and how much things can change in 25 years of marriage."

The overall message of the work is that you don't know what you've got until it's gone - and that holiday romances should be left behind in sunny climes with the sangria hangovers and half-hearted tans.

This is a story of everyday life for anyone who's ever loved and loathed, but with a twist in the tale as the audience time-travel through Dougie and Lorna's marriage.

The couples involved each have a younger version of themselves represented in the play - everyone except Dougie, that is.

Dougie plays himself in both time periods and moves happily between the times, a device Vickery had fun playing with.

He said, "Playing with time breaks all the rules. "It asks the audience to work a little harder but once they understand what is going on they find it a fascinating part of the play."

So will Spanish eyes be smiling for the couples involved?

You'll have to wait until Tuesday to see.

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Friday, May 02, 2003back



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