Theatre in Wales

Theatre, dance and performance reviews

aAtotal success as drama

The Mold Riots

Theatr Clwyd , Theatr Clwyd , October-23-19
The Mold Riots  by Theatr Clwyd It was a lovely clear evening, just right for a quiet stroll around Mold town centre. Only this wasn't a quiet stroll. We were caught up in the events leading up to Mold's riot culminating in shots being fired by the army and deaths among the townspeople.

This was Theatr Clwyd's ambitious and very successful community play involving a staggering number of local people including children, seven local choirs, the Northop Brass Band and four professional actors.

Not only that but the large promenade audience needed to be carefully shepherded around to the various sites where the action took place. This was done with discreet skill by the stewards and by the "townspeople" who mingled amongst us.

And yes, it was a total success as drama too. The writer, Bethan Marlow, distilled the tensions and the sequence of events so skilfully that I understood every step of the way. Katie Posner's direction ensured that we felt part of the community, fully feeling the iniquity of the court verdict which brought into focus the English Language versus Welsh Language divide that, along with the cut in colliers' wages, was at the core of the dispute. When we came to the riot, a matter of stone-throwing, we felt the shock of the army's arrival, particularly when we realised they were behind us as well.

Following the gunshots (drumbeats) and the deaths the procession moved on to the church. St. Mary's Church is on its own hill and we could see everyone ahead moving up the slope towards it. It was an impressive sight. So was the scene inside, the pews full while discussion went on over the dead.

Leaving the church we were met by the sight of massed lanterns and the sound of the very large choir holding them. It was a moving end to a gripping, enlightening and extraordinary evening, culminating in a speech pleading for tolerance and understanding superbly delivered by one of the professional actors, Gethin Alderman.

I cannot praise too highly the 100 strong cast for making us totally believe we were in the Mold of 1869 and for all the work that must have gone into the preparations that made it all run so smoothly. A triumph of a production.

Reviewed by: Victor Hallett

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