Theatre in Wales

Theatre, dance and performance reviews

Downtown Paradise

Wales Fargo , Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff , September-15-14
Downtown Paradise by Wales Fargo
Timely in its depiction of deeply held beliefs which almost imperceptibly tumble over into extremism, Downtown Paradise takes two characters seemingly fighting for the same cause, ultimately discovering their worlds are irreconcilable.


Set in the 1960s, Catriona James is visionary lawyer Rachel Bloom, blinded to reality by her mission to assist and free her potentially bankable new client, but failing to see how her wider, self-serving agenda will impact on him. Habib Nasib Nader is the imprisoned Black Panther freedom fighter James Wilson who manipulated into sharing his manifesto when it suits Rachelís cause. But he is furious at finding its more radical messages have been diluted for public consumption, when he finally believed he could express his real feelings.

Both performers are excellent, from their initial verbal sparring as she seeks to win his trust, to more tender confidences as they start an ill-starred affair, before the full force of their stated convictions finally shows up the tremendous gulf that neither has previously acknowledged.

A sparse set of designer prison bars frames their conflict, focusing attention on the pair as their applauded fight for justice descends into destruction.


Directed by Michael Kelligan, this is a Welsh Fargo Stage company production well worth seeing.

Touring
Taliesin Art Centre, Swansea Thurs. Sept 18 7.30pm, Tickets £10/7, (01792 60 20 60)
The Riverfront, Newport Thurs Sept 25 7.45pm, Tickets £10.50/£8.50, (01633 656757)
Neuadd Dwyfor, Pwllheli Thurs. Oct. 2 7.30pm, Tickets £8.50/7, (01758 704088)

Reviewed by: Jenny Walford

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