Theatre in Wales

Theatre, dance and performance reviews

Excellent Audience Reactions for Nazanin's Story/ UnSpoken/ A Robinson Crusoe of the Soul

Wales at Edinburgh Fringe

Howell Productions/ Softsod Productions/ Yawn the Post , C Venues/ C Royale/ Sweet Novotel , August 26, 2018
Wales at Edinburgh Fringe by Howell Productions/ Softsod Productions/ Yawn the Post The Adelaide Fringe has an energetic team of 12 in Scotland with their eyes primed for what is good and for what may be great. Their Fringe Festival, the world's second biggest, now hosts 1200 productions. Edinburgh, with double that and a bit more, is unstoppable. Comments on its excess, its overflow, its expense are regular. The first dates back to 1961. The director mused that year that “it would be much better if only ten halls were licensed”.

Theatre's true footprint is in the experiences and memories of those who were there. The reviewers are numerous and their energy high. But the sheer number is too great. At the last audit Broadway Baby, the publication in the lead, was managing 1900 reviews, ThreeWeeks 1000 and the Scotsman 826 reviews.

For those who leave this weekend with not a review to cherish it is a reflection on overload rather than quality.

Three companies identified as Welsh were review-less but picked up commendable audience feedback.

Howell Productions were at C Venues with “Nazanin's Story.” Howell Productions was founded by Emi Howell in 2014.

The description reads:

“The true and ongoing struggle of a family ripped apart, after Nazanin and her baby daughter were taken in Tehran in 2016. Since that time Nazanin has faced horrors we can only imagine, due to the intrigue of the Anglo-Iranian high politics. Listed for the Amnesty Freedom of Expression award, this is a play that is constantly being updated as Nazanin’s story unfolds; you will never see the same show twice. ‘Political theatre at its best... A must-see show... Entertaining and inspiring’ **** (Independent)”

Audience response reads “Deeply moving and so sad”

Softsod Productions were at C Royale with “UnSpoken.” The company was praised in the article on “Blue Scar” for the energy of its one-on-one promotion.

The credits are author David Martin, director Jacqs Graham and actors Lucy Elzik and David Martin.

Its description runs:

“As funeral bells chime, a mysterious woman whispers a terrible secret to a grieving wife. Years later, now in therapy, the woman pieces together the jigsaw of her life, the damning relationship with her father and the disturbing truth behind that secret whisper. UnSpoken, is a dark and thought-provoking tale of survival against the odds. It raises the profile on childhood abuse, the challenge of mental and emotional turmoil and our very human search for truth, acceptance and resolution. This newly written drama, with original evocative soundscape, will appeal to those seeking intelligent, beautifully crafted theatre.”

The 17 audience responses were all in the same vein and included:

“Intimate performance, sensitive writing, superb acting, highly recommend this play.”

“Don’t hesitate to come and see this play. You’ll laugh, cry and enjoy being taken on a rollercoaster of every emotion in between. Clever script, minimalist yet effective was truly excellent.”

“This was a really powerful piece of theatre. Very strong, compelling performances from both actors. Don’t miss it.”

“I was blown away by this stunning ..energetic performance today . From start to finish I was completely entertained fab..brilliant talent . Great to raise awareness on such important /tender issues absolute must see!”

Yawn the Post were at Sweet Novotel with “A Robinson Crusoe of the Soul”. Its description runs:

“Horror writer Arthur Machen journeys from rural Wales to the suburbs of late Victorian London, reflecting on the intangibility of things. Meanwhile, a lecture on the history of Arthur’s homeland, beginning with the formation of the Earth, begins to unravel. Arthur considers the Roman settlement buried beneath the soil of his tiny Welsh village and wonders what mysteries lie below the empire’s great capital. Narrative and diverse sound sources illustrate Arthur’s quest to cross the borders of time and space to discover hidden realities beyond the veil of the everyday world.”

3 audience responses:

“A beautiful and gently captivating one-man show. It uses layers of live sound and storytelling to tell of the life and inspiration of the author Machen.”

“Passionate, magical, beautiful, intimate and quite astounding. I’m very glad I didn’t miss this gem of theatrical, musical, crazy genius. A wonder indeed.”

“A beautifully realised and moving account of the life, creative processes and philosophy of the great Welsh mystic and writer. A must see (and hear) for those interested in the pastoral origins of Britain’s weird tales.”

Postscript: Since making this compilation Wales Arts Review has been to “UnSpoken”.

Jafar Iqbal 24th August: “David Martin’s...harrowing piece of new writing...Lucy Elzik is outstanding...wonderful chemistry, helped by Martin’s zippy dialogue...
Jacqs Graham’s direction is a strong-point too...A haunting soundscape looms over the production, adding to the unsettling ambience of this great show.”

Audience responses to “Nazanin's Story” can be read in full at

Audience responses to “UnSpoken” can be read in full at

Audience responses to “A Robinson Crusoe of the Soul” can be read in full at

Reviewed by: Adam Somerset

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