Theatre in Wales

Theatre, dance and performance reviews

The Festivals Just Run and Run...

Old Far Line Festival/ the Wheelhouse

Arad Goch/ Acrojou , Aberystwyth Promenade/ Arts Centre , August-07-17
Old Far Line Festival/ the Wheelhouse by Arad Goch/ Acrojou It's a dynamic universe and everything is flux, the arts no less so. For years summer in Aberystwyth had its rhythm. The last of the graduation ceremonies over and in came the dancers, the singers, the musicians. Three weeks rehearsal, a company size of twenty to thirty, opening the last week of July, last night the Bank Holiday weekend. The quality grew and grew and I miss it. I was there for the first night as a reviewer and for the last night just a member of an audience. Not the least of it was that the stage would be cleverly threaded with talented juniors from the town and around, some of whom have vaulted to drama and dance college. I miss it too for that reason. In the contest between the claims of performance art versus youth theatre the former is winning.

But the summer has morphed into a time for festivals. The Arts Centre for a week in July was packed for Musicfest. Tributes and praise are scattered across social media. But it is the nature of social media that it is fragmented. There is no central source to read about Musicfest. Hot on its heels came Arad Goch with their “Gwyl hen Linell Bell” or the “Old Far Line Festival.” For two weeks fifty-two events ran: stories, music, beach art, giant seagulls with stilts. No Fit State ran circus workshops. To end it all on the Saturday night a great table was laid out along the promenade. And thus did Cantre’r Gwaelod drown while King Gwyddno held a great feast for his people. This time round it came with added fireworks.

One day interim and it is into the Arts Centre's Acrobat Week. Mid-week it is pay-as-you-can family day and foyer and green space are hosting three or four hundred. There is animal art, a dancing dinosaur, a big bug twenty-four feet long and a whole lot more. Earlier in the day the Arts Centre has had a problem venues would hunger for. At the morning peak maybe eight hundred have turned up; the infants by now are home and asleep.

Professional performance in the afternoon is in the hands of Acrojou. Their home is far as can be travelled without falling into another sea. Faversham is a good spot for the pair of performers to get to Europe where they perform in festivals the year round.

Freya Thomas and Barney White have a big wooden circle, nine feet in diameter, distressed in age. It has a bench and a sound system inside and its outside is decorated with shoes, a clockface, a fuse box. On their faces they wear kerchiefs and goggles. Freya Thomas climbs to the top and spies the route with a telescope and the wheel rolls. Circus plays on the border of danger. Their great wheel rolls along the path and the two acrobat-dancers do wild things and do lyrical things. Outdoor performance in this most squally of August weeks is a toss of a coin. The Aberystwyth team has it lucky today. A bright sun has the gathered parents happy and the children playing. The audience is having a good time watching the giant wooden wheel, and so am I.

Reviewed by: Adam Somerset

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