Theatre in Wales

Theatre, dance and performance reviews

FAIRWATER GANGSTERS AND BILLY THE SEAL!

Sugar Baby

Dirty Protest , Chapter , July-26-18
Sugar Baby by Dirty Protest Adam Redmore, a remarkably strong and engaging performer is all ready leaping about welcoming us into the Chapter auditorium well before the ‘show’ starts. With his well-observed Kardiff accent he seems to have just strolled down from Fairwater, a nearby Cardiff suburb, with its Green and Fairwater Fish bar, that does a great lobster and chips! He seems a very real, ordinary nice guy.

There is a lot of surreal magic in Alan Harris’ extraordinary and vivid script. Our man, Marc, with a ‘c’ his dad had the ‘K’, is no Mr. Nice Guy. He’s a second-rate cannabis grower and part of a drug dealing cooperative. He introduces us to the low life of the district and does all their voices with a great touch of humour and sometimes menace.

Despite Harris’ story of ground scraping low-life, Redmore’s command of the stage and with the, unexpected endearing quality of his performance he has the audience in his grasp right from the off.

He is a great storyteller and a wonderful creator of the host of minor characters, the engaging lisp of his girlfriend Lisa, the Sugar Baby of the title, with her distinctive walk. He has a different walk for each character, his best and most energetic is when he does his Billy the Seal walk, bringing to life the well known Cardiff statue that once occupied a plinth in Victoria Park, just along the road from Chapter. Harris has this remarkable quality as a playwright that he can allow us to feel comfortable with the reality of his story telling but he soon takes us into a wonderful surreal world where ‘real’ things continue to happen! He is one of the most successful playwrights writing in Wales today.

Billy seems to be able to lend a hand each time Marc finds himself in deep trouble. It’s Marc’s father, Mark who is at the root of all the trouble. He’s in debt £6000, to ugly moneylender, Oggy. Oggy has two even uglier friends who do all his dirty work for him. These two are minor characters but Redmore has sketched them in so that we are able to see them hovering, threateningly.

Oggy decides that he will have Lisa as his Sugar Baby as part payment for the debt but Marc is not going to allow this. We now go on a journey with him to help stop this happening. He takes us to see His posh mum, she’s the one who wants the lobster and chips from the Fairwater Fish Bar. She may have some very helpful answers for Marc. But on he goes with more of his energetic, commanding performance, which he continues to underline with his innate charm.

This is just one hour of high quality theatre in which so much happens, in which we meet so many people, superbly created by Harris and brilliantly brought to life by Adam Redmore. A great joy to watch. The show goes to the Edinburgh Fringe again this year where I am sure it will again make a big impact.







Reviewed by: Michael Kelligan

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