Theatre in Wales

Plays and dance productions in Wales since 1982...

Angel by Chris Cooper
First presented in 2007 by Theatr Powys
cast size:5
1956 – The Platters, Johnny Ray, Elvis Presley, Guy Mitchell blast from the tranny as do the Prime Minister’s words.   With Mam’s head in a black cloud and his Dad away at war, Hywel has to fight his own battle.

Angel is a new English language community touring play.  Written by Chris Cooper, author of A Christmas Carol, Morgiana’s Dance and All at Sea, it’s a gem.  A poetic, imagistic, inspirational play for all who know what it is to be young and wise.  Suitable for all from the age of 6 with a guiding hand to hold.

   There are 2 reviews of Theatr Powys's Angel in our database:
Angel by Chris Cooper
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Dylan Thomas Theatre, Swansea
Theatr na n'Og’s reputation for high-quality drama aimed at children of all ages is well deserved, and this extraordinary production is undoubtedly one of its finest pieces to date.

This is far more than just a play; it is a total theatrical experience in which the audience are drawn into the action in more ways than one.

The plot, based on a real incident which occurred during the 19th Century ,revolves around a 12-year-old boy who is tried for the murder of a Margam gamekeeper.

Siwan Bowen Davies, Geraint Pickard and Dylan Roberts are simply wonderful in their multiple roles, slipping in and out of character with enormous skill: the subject matter maybe grim, but the contributions of these talented performers provide plenty of scope for humour and it cannot be denied that the end result is both entertaining and informative.

Writer/Director Geinor Jones, designer Guy O’Donnell and composer Greg Palmer are to be congratulated for their distinctive contributions to this project, which will be seen by 6,500 schoolchildren by next February.

And the jury’s verdict? On this occasion the lad was found not guilty ,prompting one member of the audience to say: “Pity about that ,I was looking forward to a good hanging.”
Graham Williams, South Wales Evening Post,
An intelligent, whimsical and urgent parable
Angel by Chris Cooper
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Miners’ Welfare Hall, Ystradgynlais
NEVER let anyone tell you that community theatre is simplistic – even when its target audience is, as it is with most Theatr Powys shows, anyone over the age of six.

Angel, the Llandrindod-based company’s latest touring show, is chock-a-block full of ideas, images and emotions almost to bursting point – and yet, when I caught up with it at Ystradgynlais, the primary school-age kids were totally engaged with a very complex piece of theatre.

At one level this is the story of a young boy in the ‘50s growing up the hard way – losing his soldier father, standing up to his insensitive headmaster, falling in love (sort of) with the girl next door, all the while being best friends with an “angel” – a from another place – to the sounds of rock ‘n’ roll.

But Chris Cooper’s new play is about much more. It’s a memorial to the Suez adventure of 1956 and just as John Osborne’s The Entertainer, just making a timely return to the West End, is also about the same turning-point in British history but uses music hall as an allegory of a dying age, Cooper’s intelligent, whimsical and urgent parable is set in a South Wales Valley home and schoolyard.

There’s a surreal quality to the production that really works well – although perhaps the play itself is just too full of significance.

The absent father’s shirt on the washing line accidentally gets stained by a strawberry and we know he will be shot, for example. With the constant reference to time ticking away, Hywel’s football flies into the head’s study and smashes his clock. His teacher, discovering his fascination for angels, gives him Milton’s Paradise Lost illustrated by Dore.

The levels of meaning, though, never weigh the storytelling down, thanks not just to an imaginative and lyrical production but to an impressive central performance from Iwan Charles with good support from Naomi Doyle as Deryn, Hywel’s girlfriend.

And for all its despair and anger, the play does end on a note of hope. When Mam leaves the family house, the new residents, who come from somewhere like Suez, move in. And while the mother doesn’t like bubble-gum and can only offer tea rather than pop, she and Deryn look like they’ll get on: the door is open, she says, and in a play where doors and gates are forever being shut, that’s how it ends – with the ghost of Hywel, an angel himself now looking at us with something like hope in his eyes.

Angel tours community venues until the end of March.
For details ring 01597 824444.
David Adams

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