Theatre in Wales

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At Theatr Clwyd

Clwyd Theatr Cymru- Not About Heroes , Clwyd Theatr Cymru, Mold , November 18, 2014
At Theatr Clwyd by Clwyd Theatr Cymru- Not About Heroes It really could not have been a more appropriate date. Stephen Macdonald's play about the friendship of the poets Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen had its first night on the 11th of November.

They met at Craiglockhart Hospital in Edinburgh, each suffering from shell shock. Sassoon was the established poet and somewhat reckless war hero. Not for nothing was he known as Mad Jack.

Owen was the young unpublished poet who looked to Sassoon for help and advice. Sassoon provided him with introductions to other literary greats and to the publishing world; as well as recognising the quality in the younger man's verse.

This two-hander is a play about the effect that war on the Western Front had on men. But it is also a fine portrait of a friendship formed through the means of poetry, the poetry that is the lifeblood of these men.

And of course even as we watch the friendship forming we know that one of them will not survive the war. That's not a plot spoiler because Owen's death is how the play opens.

Daniel Llewelyn-Williams is excellent as the flamboyant, emotional and charismatic Sassoon. Owain Gwynn invests Wilfred Owen with stillness, dignity and a fierce belief in his poetry that I found utterly convincing.

Tim Baker has clearly worked closely with his actors on the words. The discussions about poetry are gripping and the moments of quiet wit shine through the impending tragedy. Mark Bailey's design mixing British interiors with intrusive Paul Nash-like tree stumps is very effective.

It's a fine production of a very good and timely

Reviewed by: drama. Victor Hallett

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