Theatre in Wales

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At the Sherman

Happy Hour- Òran Mór In association with Sherman Cymru & Tobacco Factory Theatre , Sherman Theatre , November 26, 2015
At the Sherman by Happy Hour- Òran Mór In association with Sherman Cymru & Tobacco Factory Theatre Sherman Cymru’s Associate Director Gethin Evans brings his very poignant production home via Bristol’s Tobacco Factory Theatre, after its great start from the home of “A Play, A Pie and A Pint”, the dynamic Òran Mór Theatre in Glasgow where they have been serving up this wholesome trio since 2004.

The Sherman Studio theatre is a very atmospheric and adaptable black box that allows plays to be presented in many different ways; mostly the floor of the theatre serves as the stage.

Here we have a two-foot high platform stage that hems the characters into the intensity of the action. The three excellent actors create an extraordinary sense of Brechtian reality that totally engages us.

The family, daughter Kay, an empty – headed, selfish dreamer, played to perfection by Hannah Donaldson, mother Anne; Anne Lacey totally captures the cold, ‘I should have done better’ nature of the publican’s widow and Tom, the only decent member of the trio is given a warm and captivating performance by Stephen McColl.

They assemble in the back room of the pub, dad has not long died, duties, making life better for an African village kept Tom away from the funeral. The family has gathered to scatter Dad’s ashes- currently in an old Nike trainer box on the table. Kay is more interested in her potential inheritance. She is certain her mother will sell the pub and the proceedings equally divided between them. She is desperate for her money to pay off debt in her latest crazy idea, an alternative therapy business she runs from a garage with a broken door. Writer, Anita Vettasse brings us some great laughs to relieve the intensity of the resentments as they emerge. Mother, Anne clearly thinks her husband was not good enough for her. She’s a cold fish, in her tight fitting dress and inappropriate short skirt. It was clearly not the life she was looking for.

Tom has got married in Africa and with his wife is planning to build a school and a hospital. He has not told his mother. He was not prepared to bring his wife home to face his mother’s bigotry. As all these bitter grievances emerge, dad remains in his box on the table.

Mother announces that she has decided not to sell the pub, probably to spite Kay. Kay blows and words fly like sharpened darts. There’s an awful accident, no living person is damaged.
And Kay escapes her bankruptcy.

Tom’s life was sorted, he did not need our concern but who could care for these two harridans. I had a great time enjoying the almost farcical irony behind some of the poisonous exchanges. But I left feeling more satisfied by my pie and pint than by the overall artistic experience. The play perhaps needed an additional dimension and the direction could have been a little tighter.


Reviewed by: Michael Kelligan

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