Theatre in Wales

Theatre, dance and performance reviews

At the Sherman

Sherman Cymru- Leviathan , Sherman Cymru , March 25, 2015
At the Sherman by Sherman Cymru- Leviathan The “Play, a Pie and a Pint” concept has a great pedigree. Established by a member of that remarkable Scottish theatre trio, David MacLennan in 2004. It continues there to this day and the concept is now being implemented around the world. MacLennan, with his wife Elizabeth and the ‘other’ John McGrath were the founders of the revolutionary 7:84 theatre company.

And now innovative artistic director Rachel O’Riordan has brought the concept to Wales.
The first play Leviathan by Pontypool born actor turned playwright, Matthew Trevannion.

Leviathan, an odd title for this play, is it there to consume us along with our pie and pint? Of course it is used allegorically. Here the characters we meet in the back garden of their valley’s Council House all appear to be eaten away from the inside as they face up to the trials life has presented them with.

Trevannion writes with a well-observed poignancy and he doesn’t let his play, watched straight after a day at the office, bear us down. This is mainly due to the very fine cast, Clare Cage, Siw Hughes and Gwawr Loader. Siw Hughes give a remarkable strong and totally captivating performance as Mavis, an indomitable Welsh ‘Mam’ with an ingrained wisdom that allows her to accept all that life throws at her and still have a laugh. And so do we, her comedy moments are absolutely wonderful, right up to the end. Despite the tragic situations that both her daughter and her granddaughter are experiencing she is able to introduce a note of hope for all us us to share.

She is convinced that the best place for her daughter, Karen, a former psychiatric nurse, now in a permanent catatonic state, is to sit in the sun in an armchair she has dragged out of the house to the back garden. Catatonic, slumped in an armchair, not an easy situation to give a performance from but Clare Cage manages a beauty and a realism that is totally convincing and quietly dramatic to watch.

Her twenty something daughter, Hannah can’t handle the situation, she is sharped tongued but fighting against an inevitable crash. Again Gwawr Loader gives us a remarkable convincing performance.

They set up the family relationship perfectly. In fact their performances are pretty perfect all round, a perfect complement to our pie and pint.

Please can we have some more?

Reviewed by: Michael Kelligan

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