Theatre in Wales

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Powerful Acting

At the Sherman

Sherman Theatre Company- Fel Anifail by Meic Povey , Sherman , October 17, 2018
At the Sherman by Sherman Theatre Company- Fel Anifail by Meic Povey I first met Meic Povey nearly 40 years ago. We were both actors in Baron Bolligrew in the Children’s Summer Theatre in Roath Park. Meic went on to become one of the most important playwrights working in the Welsh Language. He also wrote a number of plays in the English language and contributed scripts to a number of Welsh Language TV series. His work was studied in Welsh medium schools.

He also acted in a number of TV roles, his best known was playing DC Jack Jones in ‘Minder’ throughout the series. It was a sad loss when he was taken from us at the early age of sixty-five.

This revival of one of his early plays, Fel Anifail (Like an animal) by the Sherman company, skilfully directed by Jac Ifan Moore is very welcome.

One of Meic’s skills was in creating very real characters, speaking very real dialogue, with a touch of poetry.

We have that here in the very unreal Sherman Arena theatre. Backed by a rocky mountain outcrop, the ‘garden’ of Defi and Mair’s farmhouse. The strong reality emerges from this very theatrical background with wonderful and totally compelling performances from Wyn Bowen Harries and Morfudd Hughes. Now both in old age, Defi, once a strapping young farmer, now just able to walk with great difficulty, aided by his long Y topped stick.

Defi pleads with Mair in his befuddled way, not to go before him, as he needs her to care for him.

She listens with that bored bitterness of a long love-less marriage. The intenseness of the surtitles made it a bit difficult for this mere English speaker to keep up with every detail but the powerful, biting connection between them was unmissable.

It appears that some dreadful tragedy has occurred with their children and she blames him for it. He leaps into a powerful robustness to defend himself. This continues throughout the play. We have forgotten Wyn Bowen Harries and it is now Defi that hold us in the power of his story.

Long resigned to this existence Mair gets on with the daily tasks and starts to prepare vegetables. After a while she emits a deep and long groan. Defi panics, she’s going… but she is soon back to her normal self.

She starts to admonish him again, for she is certain that in his young days he was unfaithful to her with a young girl high up on the mountainside. He claims he was only looking after sheep.

And so the tirades go on and we will continue to be captivated by the power of their arguments, that will without doubt will continue tomorrow, Fel Anifail ? The audience is by now totally engaged by these two superb performances.

Meic Povey is standing at the extreme left of the photograph.
Thanks to Stephen Lyons for photograph.

Reviewed by: Michael Kelligan

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