Theatre in Wales

Theatre, dance and performance reviews

Cassic dialogue and an emotional ending

This Incredible Life

Theatrau Sir Gâr and Canoe Theatre , Chapter , October-05-18
This Incredible Life by Theatrau Sir Gâr and Canoe Theatre There is no doubt that my favourite current playwright is Alan Harris. I love his ability to take ordinary real people and put them in increasingly surreal situations and finish with optimism ( a much needed trait in these current times). Having failed to catch this play in Llanelli and Blackwood I duly headed into Canton with high hopes.

“This Incredible Life” is a two-hander based around Mab waiting for a car to take her to London to receive an award for her career in journalism. She is accompanied by her nephew Robert who hasn’t seen her for a while and is bemused why he has been asked to be involved on this special occasion. It doesn’t take long before we realise that her grasp of reality is hazy as she slips in and out of the real world with increasingly regularity. It also becomes clear that her successful career in journalism is also based on a hazy grip of reality.

As a set-up this is classic Alan Harris territory and where you would expect his astonishing imagination to take flight, but what followed was for me a little disappointing. There are still moments of the playwright’s classic dialogue and an emotional ending but a lot of credit must go to the set designer, Peter Lochery, and film maker Jorge Lizalde for enhancing the evening’s enjoyment. I must also doff my (imaginary) hat to the cast. Theatre-goers in the South Wales area are already well aware of what a great actress Sharon Morgan is (I loved her a while ago in Brecht’ s “ Mother Courage And Her Children” in Merthyr) but today she surpassed herself. She managed to bring Mab to come to life as if she had stepped out of a Tennessee Williams play ( assuming he had visited his relatives in the Llanelli area). Christopher Elson ( who I enjoyed watching in the odd “Highway One” earlier this year) I thought took a little while to get into the role of the long-suffering Robert but by the end of the play he truly conveyed the emotional turmoil his character was experiencing.

Perhaps the problem was the fact that I had set the bar a little high in my mind as this is still a good play. There are plenty of highspots ( especially in the filmed inserts) but I didn’t find myself laughing as much as I usually do in an Alan Harris play. But, don’t take my word for yourself you can still catch “ This Incredible Life” at Ysgol Aberconwy and the Blackwood Miners Institute later this month.


Reviewed by: David Cox

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