Theatre in Wales

Theatre, dance and performance reviews

An involving and an intelligent piece of theatre

Arad Goch

Arad Goch- Crash , on tour , March 20, 2007
Arad Goch by Arad Goch- Crash Crash ! It’s a popular title, maybe because it sums up for so many modern life: with or without an exclamation mark, as in computer crash, as in gatecrash, as in crash out, as in crash editing, as in crash metal, as in car crash.
 
Originally staged in 2005 and now revived, Sera Moore Williams’s carefully crafted play deals with several meanings of the word, starting with one and ending with another, as it tracks a few weeks in the lives of three teenage school pupils going through exams, adolescence and the emotional pile-up that is part and parcel of the transition to adulthood.
 
Elin is a typically misunderstood teenage girl, struggling with hormones and temptation and exams and parents who want the best from her, a romantic wannabe mermaid-cum-angel; her nogoodboyo boyfriend is a school drop-out, doing drugs and booze and stealing cars, without a home, an aggressive wannabe drugs baron; and her long-time best friend is an immature geek left behind as she moves on to new experiences, but a wimp who can speak sense: “No-one our age fits in at home,” he points when maybe she thinks her parents are stricter than anyone else’s and her lot therefore the more exceptionally unjust.
 
Three very recognisable characters here transported into a modern tragedy where the inevitable inches ever closer as surely as it does in Greek drama: but who will be the tragic hero (or heroine), whose the hubris and the nemesis, where the catharsis ? We swing from character to character and, to the play’s credit, the climax is surprise.
 
As if to emphasise the classic model, the playwright/director employs a heightened style of writing and performance that gives it a not-quite-real quality that makes for an intensely theatrical experience that is also utterly credible.
 
Although being pretty full-on, the production is also full of subtleties and hints of deeper themes (I liked how Elin wears her angel badge and then Rhys goes to a fancy-dress party as a devil – both wildly inappropriate pretences).
 
The only discordant element is, perhaps, Rhys the nerd: while the others are familiar kids, albeit slightly exaggerated, he is maybe too much of a comic character, the Fool alongside the lovers. It makes for some very entertaining moments – his party dance routine is very well done – but adds an edginess that is rather too disconcerting as we wonder whether he has behavioural problems or whether he’s just being played too OTT.
 
Crash ! is certainly an involving and an intelligent piece of theatre for young audiences, exploring what to most must be all-too-familiar situations but wrapped in the extraordinariness of theatre, exploring themes of friendship, of need and dependency, of wanting to escape, of peer pressure, of relationships with parents, of the clashes and crashes of adolescence.
 
Sera Moore Williams, whose Riff remains of the best shows I’ve seen from Arad Goch, is beyond the age of hanging around street corners but she obviously listens to young people, and creates dialogue that is arresting and authentic enough to be at times almost incomprehensible to the likes of me, and allows her cast to find generally credible characters.
 
There are energetic performances from a confident cast, Dafydd Rhys Evans, Rhiannon Morgan and Robin Ceiriog, with some effective guitar support from Oliver Morys, though his brief foray into acting as a rapping hoodie was less convincing.
 

Reviewed by: David Adams

back to the list of reviews

This review has been read 5272 times

There are 6 other reviews of productions with this title in our database:

 

Privacy Policy | Contact Us | © keith morris / red snapper web designs / keith@artx.co.uk