Theatre in Wales

Theatre, dance and performance reviews

An intriguing, beautifully crafted poetic play

At Company of Sirens

Sean Tyrone , Chapter, Cardiff , July 2, 2010
At Company of Sirens by Sean Tyrone Cardiff based Irishman and playwright Mark Ryan has given us an intriguing, beautifully crafted poetic play; young John OíBrienís life-odyssey, a path many of us take and maybe arrive at the same ending but hopefully with a much less troublesome journey. John is given an endearing if somewhat bewildered performance by final year drama student Callum James. His journey starts in Ireland where he is his instructed by his dying mother, another perfectly pitched performance by Lynne Hunter (who is underused in this production), to seek out his father who has deserted them for a better life in a remote village in Wales.

His journey is beset by crooks and charlatans who descend on him like crows and all but devour him up. These well discharged vignettes are allegorical metaphors for all the ills that beset us all as we struggle through life. Dafydd Wyn Roberts sparkles both as an Irish and as a Welsh con-man. Robert Harper skilfully shows us the village idiot is as much at home across the Irish sea as he is on our own territory. As the harpy of the piece we get a piercingly compelling performance from Bethan Morgan. Completing this quintet of bees that buzz claustrophobically about young Johnís head is a predatory seductress, an attractive performance from Angharad Evans who needs to turn up the sensuality a little more.†

John finds his father in a destroyed Welsh village, much of the destruction seems to be the result of Sťan Tyrone, Johnís father, being there. The menace of the deserted village, a theme Ryan has taken from the great Mexican novel ĎPedro Paramoí by Juan Rulfo, set the atmosphere for the production which has been well captured by Chris Durnallís direction and enhanced by effective music composed by the author that he and Bethan Morgan execute with penetrating musicality†

It does seem a little cavalier to criticise the overall raggedness of this production as it has been staged with such passion and commitment with very little financial or other resources. The play deserves more than just this three night run and I feel sure with some fine tuning a quality work could emerge.

Reviewed by: Michael Kelligan

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