Theatre in Wales

Theatre, dance and performance reviews

"Compelling piece of theatre": Five-star Review Kick-off for Wales at Fringe 2017

Not About Heroes

Flying Bridge Theatre & Seabright Productions , Pleasance Dome , August-08-17
Not About Heroes by Flying Bridge Theatre & Seabright Productions Schaffer and Dexter, Frayn and Blakemore, Hare and Eyre, all duos from the past where quality met big box office. In 2016 in England it was Thorne and Tiffany and in Wales the double-O team Owen and O'Riordan. When the right dramatist and the right director fuse the result can soar. So the teaming of Daniel Llewellyn-Williams and Tim Baker may be just a footnote in the theatre of Wales and may be a seed for a big future.

“Not About Heroes” has- the words are Baker's- “a great designer, Ollie Harman, who is fresh out of Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.” Flying Bridge's ambitions are big “we hope to spread our work to the rest of the world and help support the work being created in Wales really grow.” Big ambition is to be applauded.

In edited form a nice start with two 5* reviews in Edinburgh.

From the British Theatre Guide

The two men stand on opposite sides of a stage cluttered with broken pieces of wood, but still holding a freshly made bed and a cluttered writing desk. The stark yet complex staging goes ways to creating a visual metaphor showing the fractured and fragmented mindstate of the two men, and the distance between them, and the tangible solidities of their existence. Told in flashback by a lamenting Siegfried Sassoon, wracked with self-imposed guilt about his perceived failure to convince his friend and fellow poet Wilfred Owen not to return to the front lines of the Great War.

...From their first awkward and defensive meetings in Craiglockhart Mental Hospital, to their final partings and the decidely un-officerlike hug they steal in a moment of desperate acknowledgment of each's importance to other, the performance is as flawless as the script.

Daniel Llewellyn-William's sardonically cynical Sassoon contrasts brilliantly with the raw enthusiastic energy and excitement of Iestyn Arwel's Owen: shellshocked but never cowed from his clear admiration of his idol.

It's well known that MacDonald's play is a classic and leads the audience on a journey, told in part through poetry and letter, with raw pieces of each poet's work read or spoken at moments which, under Tim Baker's fine direction, wrung sorrow, despair and many many tears from the packed
auditorium.

From the Southside Advertiser

“Not About Heroes”...is a compelling piece of theatre, telling the story of the War Poets, Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon...Both actors give an accomplished and impassioned performance which is extremely moving, although with its moments of humour too, and which brings these two great men vividly to life.”

Photo Credit: Catherine Ashmore

Reviewed by: Adam Somerset

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