Theatre in Wales

Theatre, dance and performance reviews

Old South Wales and New South Wales combine in drama!

Do Not Go Gentle

The Drill Hall Theatre Company Mullumbimby, NSW Australia/ Everyman Theatre Company Cardiff, Wales , Chapter , September-05-17
Do Not Go Gentle by The Drill Hall Theatre Company Mullumbimby, NSW Australia/ Everyman Theatre Company Cardiff, Wales Patricia Cornelius is a highly regarded, awarded-winning Australian playwright. Her play
‘Do Not Go gentle’ received the NSW Premier's Literary Award for Drama in 2011.
This production is a major achievement for these two companies, parted by over 10,000 miles of land
and sea. Actors from Australia share the stage seamlessly with the Chapter based Everyman actors.

It is indeed a very challenging play; the cast face up to the challenges of Cornelius’ strong
but sometimes a little obscure writing with remarkable strength and intelligence.
Geraint Dixon (Wales) captures well the determined spirit of Captain Robert Falcon Scott as
he leads his faithful band, struggling down their fateful track to endeavour to be the first to put up a flag on the South Pole. There are times when the skilful lighting seems to breathe the chilling
Antarctic air at us despite the warmth of the auditorium.

But the play is much more than Scott’s sad story. He and his party, Evans a ranting ‘lefty’ played
well by Peter Harding-Roberts (Wales), Oates, another well rounded performance from
Owen Trevor-Jones (Australia) are allegoric representations of a party of aged people struggling but not going ‘gentle’, with the closing chapters of their lives. His other two companions, Wilson and Bowers are played by female actors. Again attractive and well-observed performances from Rosy Greenwood (Wales) and Cate Feldmann (Australia).

As the play progresses we are presented with a whole range of human experiences and fear of a lack of fulfilment. Dixon makes a strong impression as he reflects, alone on the stage, on his failure to achieve his goal. We also have another very moving moment as we realise dementia has beset the now female Cate Feldmann as she fails to recognise her husband.

There are a good many laughs as we continue down life’s road with these delicate people. Scott’s sexual romps with Wilson bring very wide smiles. Peter Harding-Roberts gets some good out-loud laughs with some of his left-wing ranting, though we do learn he had been quite a ‘toughie’ in his time. Sadly we eventually see the life begin to ebb away from him and his companions.

Even the ethereal Maria, beautifully sung by Susan Gallagher fails to find her way. Owen Trevor- Jones gives us a strong moment as the frustrations emerge between him and his son.

There are many moving moments but the script is at times somewhat tricky and unclear and the movement from scene to scene a little awkward but we are all thrilled with the way we see them all raging against the dying of the light.

Photo" Patricia Cornelius

Reviewed by: Michael Kelligan

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