Theatre in Wales

Theatre, dance and performance reviews

“Personal, Frank and Quintessentially Welsh- Shouldn't Be Missed"

Wales at Edinburgh Fringe

Land of My Fathers and Mothers and Other People- Rhys Slade-Jones , Pleasance Courtyard- Bunker One , August 26, 2019
Wales at Edinburgh Fringe by Land of My Fathers and Mothers and Other People- Rhys Slade-Jones Rhys Slade-Jones is a new name for this site. The reaction to his show is unanimous- it is a winner.

From British Theatre

“Wales has been very well represented here at the Fringe, and here’s a little gem from Rhys Slade-Jones. Bringing to life Treherbert Rugby Club, he tells us his family history, how his parents met, and brings to life the humour and melancholy of the Valleys.

“He is a warm, welcoming performer, sassy and naughty as he reads from his mother’s diary, sings a couple of songs and is, rightly, unashamedly gay and camp. As a gay Valleys boy myself, it was like watching some of my history! But this is no piece of fluff, Rhys Slade-Jones does not flinch from the ravages of the loss of industry and jobs, the under funding of the NHS and the closure of community centres and groups.

“It’s a deeply personal piece that will speak to many, Welsh or not, and this is a highly enjoyable hour in the company of a very funny man.”

From Voice

“From the moment you walk in, you know this show’s going to be wild, as Rhys Slade-Jones greets you covered in Welsh paraphernalia, ranging from an apron with the Welsh flag to a huge (traditional) horse head. From under this mass of cloth, he belts out the Welsh national anthem, then strips from all of this to a pair of shorts with a Welsh flag on them, performing the rest of the show with just those on.

“In a sense, that removal of layers kind of mirrors the vulnerability Slade-Jones shows throughout this performance, where he talks about his homeland and more specifically the village that he grew up in, which was displayed through physical pictures he projects onto a screen. As he swings from explaining Welsh culture to his own family’s stories to reading his mum’s diary everything feels personal and intimate. At the same time, with his frank and funny story-telling, the show manages to be eye-opening without feeling didactic, telling stories from communities who we rarely hear from.

“The power of community is ultimately at the centre of the tales weaved throughout the show, and Slade-Jones makes his audience a microcosm to demonstrate that power. The show always feels like a close and personal conversation (aided by the warm lighting), with the audience even getting to sing along with him at one point. At another point, we all (Slade-Jones included) just sit and listen to an audio track from an event at his home village, and because of the sense of openness and community fostered, we connected to them (and each other) in a deeply moving way.

"Drawing from a deep well of truthfulness, friendliness and authenticity, Land of My Fathers and Mothers and Other People is a tender and communal experience which definitely shouldn’t be missed.”

From An Organised Mess

“Rhys Slade-Jones takes you through the most heartwarming and energetic tale of life in Treherbert. Instantly identifying and creating rapport with the audience, we are treated to a brief history of Wales, before being completely immersed in life growing up in the Rhondda Valleys.

“I walk away with an in-depth understanding of Treherbert Rugby Club, its architecture and decor...And it’s in the detail which the love is shared. I loved the accuracy, the footnotes of the habits and traditions.

“Rhys Slade-Jones appears as a magician of storytelling. Admittedly, his magician’s outfit ends up being a pair of boxer shorts adorned with a Welsh flag design. And this isn’t a homage to all that is good and prosperous in Wales. There is a frank yet endearing nature to his challenges growing up as a gay Welshman in a family of rugby players.

“The Land of My Fathers and Mothers and Some Other People just is everything people should seek out.”

From audience comment:

“I really loved this show. I wasn't quite sure what to expect, but I was soon swept up in Rhys' storytelling; I felt like I'd been transported to the town he grew up in. Blending extracts from his mam's diary, old photos and song (he has a fab voice), it's a beautiful and funny show. I think you'd be hard pressed not to come away feeling both moved and uplifted. Go see!”

Reviews, cited,with thanks, can be read in full at:

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Reviewed by: Adam Somerset

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