Theatre in Wales

Theatre, dance and performance reviews

Theatr Iolo

Theatr Iolo-Box of Fear , , June 19, 1996
YOU could think the only problems of racism in Wales were about Welsh Na- tionalism and English imperialism, relatively safe areas of dispute, if you didn't happen to notice that what used to be called colour prejudice (a polite euphemism) was on the march and involved actual physical harm to people.

Racial attacks in Wales have increased by 325 per cent and the three Glamorgans (as they were) had. more incidents than anywhere in Britain outside London and Manchester.
Yet where was all this conflict on the stage? The search for the Celtic soul and Welsh identity had no time for such social reality - racism was invisible in the- atre and still is, broadly speaking - there has, as far as I am aware, been no play produced that has tackled the real racism in Wales, or indeed the links between nationalism and the National Front, but Theatr Iolo's latest piece does tackle racial harassment head on.

Commissioned by Cardiff County Council as part of its anti-racist policies, Box of Fear is a simple story of a young boy of Indian parentage born in Manchester who has to put up with "Paki filth" abuse in a climate where adult racism is seen within a context of trade union protectionism and job threats. The boy's friendship with a white classmate offers some kind of hope.

The play, while admirable in intent is thin and its main purpose, I guess, is to stimulate discussion afterwards.
Here, maybe, it can be decided if the company has ducked the issue by not selling it firmly in Cardiff ("This is England", said the bigoted father at one point, in justification of white supremacy) or being tougher in approach.

Box of Fear is also part of Cadmad's Arts Festival.

Reviewed by: David Adams

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