Theatre in Wales

Theatre, dance and performance reviews

Lyn Gardner: “Alan Harris spins a piece of very funny popular theatre”

Wales at Edinburgh Fringe

Paines Plough, Sherman Cymru & Theatr Clwyd- Love, Lies & Taxidermy , Roundabout @ Summerhall , August-09-16
Wales at Edinburgh Fringe by Paines Plough, Sherman Cymru & Theatr Clwyd- Love, Lies & Taxidermy Four stars from Lyn Gardner 8th August

“Why isn’t 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 it’s too cold to eat ice-cream.
Merthyr Tydfil is the setting for Alan Harris’s utterly improbable but stupidly lovely fantasy in which Valentine’s attempts to save his parents’ marriage and Ashley’s attempt to save her dad’s business collide, as love blossoms. It’s not the stuff of traditional romcoms, and it takes place in a town where it seems as if all roads lead to Tesco, where it’s 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 (Valentine’s 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.”

Reviewed by: Adam Somerset

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