Theatre in Wales

Plays and dance productions in Wales since 1982...

Journey by devised by the company
First presented in 1992 by Theatr Iolo
cast size:3
Inspired by the paintings and sculptures of Picasso, Journey tells the story of an old woman returning to the place where she was born.
Along the way she meets an old sea captain and his friend - a talking bird.

Neither wants anything to do with the other, but soon they come to realise that they must share and co-operate if they want to continue on with their Journey

Journey explores themes which are very real to younger children - friendship, sharing, mutual dependency and creativity.

   There are 2 reviews of Theatr Iolo's Journey in our database:
A sparkling bottle of delight
Journey by devised by the company
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Llanover Hall Arts Centre
A devised piece for four year old and upwards.
Llanover Hall Cardiff Tuesday June 18 and Wednesday 19th June 2002 and touring schools etc. throughout South Wales until 1 Dec

A sparkling bottle of delight - sounds like champagne! Perhaps not quite the correct analogy for a production for four year olds. But that was definitely the feeling I had in my head at the end of this latest, quality production from Artistic Director Kevin Lewis and his associates at Cardiff based Theatr Iolo.

The piece original devised in 1993 remains fresh, exciting and highly amusing absorbing its audience to the highest degree. Its clean simplicity is the key to its success. With its deliberate Picasso influence, Portuguese designer Ana Mestre setting is much more acessible its colour and form giving it a delicate cartoon quality which is taken up by the performers.

Gwenfair Vaughan Jones as 'The Old Woman' totters gracefully. Emyr John give a touch of poetry and bewilderment as 'The Captain' and there a particularly lovely performance of 'The Bird' by Ana Joseph although she doesn't actually fly she certainly looks as if she is very able to do so. The three of them don't seems to get on very well to begin with but as the play progress they find that they have a real need to get on well together and form a very happy 'portrait and the curtain call.

No heavy message, a simple story gentle making its point to its very appreciative young audience.

The earlier production toured to the Luaga Losna Festival in Austria. The production can be seen at the Sherman Theatre Cardiff in the Autumn and at the Polka Theatre and half Moon Theatre and again in London at The Lyric Theatre Hammersmith in the Spring of 2003.

I know some of our 'grown up' Theatre companies have taken work to London and further a field. but this is a fine example of the best of 'made in Wales' winning its place in a wider field.

The last time the Arts Council of Wales became proactive on TIE matters it nearly dug its own grave. Currently it is consulting on its latest strategy. In Wales our TIE companies are the finest to be found any where in the World.

The only strategy the Arts Council needs in to continue and enhance its support for these organisation who have undoubtedly proven their value to the Welsh Theatre scene.
Michael Kelligan
Journey by devised by the company
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Llanover Hall Arts Centre
A piece of theatre based on the paintings of Picasso and to the music of Debussy, Satie and other French composers of the time may seem pretty highbrow entertainment. But this is kid's stuff.

And younger kids, at that. Theatr Iolo's new show, Journey, is aimed at primary and infants schoolchildren, for whom (we must assume) the visual and aural references do not have the cultural significance they do for the more sophisticated among us. The adult audience at Llanover Hall for a public performance of this young people's show presumably saw a different play than the children.

In fact it's the story - short, simple, moving - that we share. A cantankerous sea captain living on a beach with only a talking bird for company has his peace invaded by an equally quirky elderly artist, and on her return journey to the place she was born the couple learn to share and to respect each other.

Though, to be honest, it isn't so much the story as the telling of it. As you'd expect from a play that draws on the work of innovatory expressive artists, Kevin Lewis's production is stylised, highly visual, physical and very inventive. The characters inhabit a world of heightened representation, unreal but also recognisable, that exist in the imagination. Like painting and music, theatre is about reaching the parts other aspects of life cannot.

Does it matter if we recognise or not Picasso's circus performer or Debussy's Le Mer ? Of course not. It's great that kids are given a way in to the world of art and classical music (teachers will, I'm sure, talk about the inspiration of the images and sounds) but Journey isn't about high culture but about, very simply, the need to understand each other - and the power of the imagination.
David Adams

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