Theatre in Wales

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Not Quite as I Remember It

At Theatr Clwyd

Theatr Clwyd Cymru- A Child’s Christmas in Wales , Aberystwyth Arts Centre , February-05-11
At Theatr Clwyd by Theatr Clwyd Cymru- A Child’s Christmas in Wales A Tim Baker production is never going to deliver less than visual flair. Mark Bailey’s set is a snow-covered circle, a tall Christmas fir and a spiral upward ramp curving to the right. A semi-circular screen encloses the set at the rear, lit by Nick Beadle a seductive bluey-mauve. No-one uses colour quite like Tim Baker. The design with its split level opportunity for the actors’ movements is reminiscent of his 2007 production of “A Toy Epic.”

This adaptation, also by Tim Baker, has a cast of five. The energy on stage, the timing and counterpoint of the lines by Michael Geary, Charlotte Gray, Iola Hughes, Owen Morse and Simon Neehan are impeccable.

The form that has been selected for the play is less seductive. The lines are part narrative and part speech from the characters who are interchanged between the cast. A similar techniquewas used in “A Toy Epic” four years ago. While the production has a vitality on the surface it suffers from a degree of flatness and over-literariness. The rhythm, the deeper structure, of stage art are foregone.

In the first act too the concentration of Dylan Thomas’ single day is lost. There is some vivid characterisation but a long sequence of a summer’s trip to Rhossili detracts from the focus on Christmas Day. By the end of the first act there has been no sight of Uncle Tydur, Auntie Bessie or the cousins, no Cwmdonkin Park, no burnt turkey. I think it was Adrian Mitchell who did an excellent adaptation. He wisely stuck to a child's Christmas in Wales.

Reviewed by: Adam Somerset

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