Theatre in Wales

Theatre, dance and performance reviews

An evening of fun!

At Theatr Clwyd

Clwyd Theatre Cymru- Accidental Death of An Anarchist , Sherman Theatre-Cardiff , April 26, 2001
This was an evening of FUN, an evening of JOY. An evening of Welsh fun and Welsh joy establishing that theatre is vital and fine and living in Wales. Art imitating life imitating art! This production had a quality of surreal animation with the live actors performing the tasks of the cartoon characters.

I have listed above all those who have been involved in creating this piece, as it is a fine example of how everyone concerned with the production shares the joy of presenting this evening.

The amazing eccentric movements fit in so well with the mood of the way the 'story' is told. The play is so well cast, the shape of each actor contrasting well with another. No doubt in other productions the 'maniac' will be played by a man. Here the part is played by Valmai Jones, a slight looking figure but nonetheless exuding the greatest possible power over everyone else on the stage. She keeps us all on our toes with a remarkable variation in her playing, sometimes low key and at other times giving it full blast and dominating the proceeding. Her physical ability to roll about the stage and speak wisdom at the same time is quite remarkable.

Through her mouth Fo reminds us of the weaknesses in contemporary society but this is presented in such a way we feel almost in the brainless area of the old farces of Brian Rix but there is much more here. Kai Owen's constable is a sort of background part but whether he is in the back or the foreground he gives a sort of running commentary on the play, almost with his tongue in his cheek Like all the actors his embraces his role so perfectly. Russell Gomer, a suave detective on the surface demonstrates comedy mime skills that Dario Fro, an expert in this field himself, would have been proud. This performance though contrasted by the less demonstrative character played by Philip Howe, is one where this actor along with all his fellows on the stage show us now much they enjoy sharing the telling of the story to us and with one another.

Sion Tudor Owen, as well as starting the play on a high note of clowning, like all the others, blends well with his fellows and drives forward at all times. Tonya Smith who, at the beginning, is seen as a background police constable cavorting with fellow constable Kai Owen completes the cast. When she appears as the Journalist Feletti, even in her costume, she demonstrates that she is different from the rest of them but very much still apart of this very excellent team of consummate entertainers.

For me this production more than justifies the adding of the 'Cymru' to 'Clwyd Theatre Cymru' which is what Terry Hands promised when he first took over - to honour his Welsh grandmother! The rest of the audience tonight seemed to be celebrating this with me.

Reviewed by: Michael Kelligan

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