Theatre in Wales

Theatre, dance and performance reviews

Lyn Gardner: ďAlan Harris spins a piece of very funny popular theatreĒ

Wales at Edinburgh Fringe

Paines Plough, Sherman Cymru & Theatr Clwyd- Love, Lies & Taxidermy , Roundabout @ Summerhall , August 9, 2016
Wales at Edinburgh Fringe by Paines Plough, Sherman Cymru & Theatr Clwyd- Love, Lies & Taxidermy Four stars from Lyn Gardner 8th August

ďWhy isnít life more like the movies? Maybe sometimes, against all the odds, it can be. So it proves for the unhappily named Valentine, son of a Polish taxidermist, and Ashley, daughter of Mr Tutti-Frutti, a debt-ridden ice-cream salesman in a town where itís too cold to eat ice-cream.
Merthyr Tydfil is the setting for Alan Harrisís utterly improbable but stupidly lovely fantasy in which Valentineís attempts to save his parentsí marriage and Ashleyís attempt to save her dadís business collide, as love blossoms. Itís not the stuff of traditional romcoms, and it takes place in a town where it seems as if all roads lead to Tesco, where itís always drizzling and the future is pretty bleak whatever your age. But out of this, Harris spins a piece of very funny popular theatre about the need for dreams, seizing the initiative when all seems lost and bringing people together.

The play slightly spins out of control in the final third, and in the process loses its motor even as the story builds towards the climax. However, it is sustained by observational wit (Valentineís mum is always recommending the calming influence of milk, on the grounds that you never see a cow suffering a panic attic), its love of people and place, and its bloody-minded optimism. Well worth it, too, for a trio of engaging and spot-on performances from Remy Beasley, Richard Corgan and Andy Rush, who for 70 minutes make you believe that sometimes real life can actually be better than the movies.Ē

Reviewed by: Adam Somerset

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