Theatre in Wales

Theatre, dance and performance reviews

Wow for “Fow”

Wales at Edinburgh Fringe

Deaf & Fabulous & Taking Flight & National Theatre Wales , the Review Show , September 8, 2021
Wales at Edinburgh Fringe by Deaf & Fabulous & Taking Flight & National Theatre Wales The Fringe programme covered a thousand-plus events. The term in 2021 meant often a brand umbrella rather than a physical or geographical connection with Edinburgh.

The Review Show of 20th August did not get to Edinburgh but had things to say that went beyond the interesting to the important.

Deaf & Fabulous Productions & Taking Flight Theatre Company in co-production with The Welfare & Theatrau Sir Gâr “Fow”:

“Screen split in three...when characters not on screen in the form of two-dimensional puppets, a playful of the successful things about it this is real digital theatre.

"It's not theatre filmed, theatre repurposed for the digital age and the restrictions of covid and lockdown.

“The illustrations and the whole creative approach really worked. It might have been necessity but it was a joy to see. The developing relationship between Lissa and Sion, the main narrative arc, that worked really well, the performances were really strong, interesting things being explored about language and communication, the way they discussed Welsh and BSL, revealing the commonalities...the whole anxiety of not being expressive enough...some profound things drawn out...the third character, Josh, I didn't quite buy into his journey...the main nub of it was really successful and rather moving.

“One of the scenes I found most profound was where Lissa gives a sign language account of when she was being diagnosed, presumably as a teenager or a young person, that really was powerful. Towards the end there is a scene which is just about the most uplifting thing you'll ever see.”

Credits for "Fow":

Actors Steph Back, Jed O’Reilly, Ioan Gwyn; director Elise Davison; design and graphics Garrin Clarke & Becky Davies; author Alan Saunders

The Review Show also watched National Theatre Wales “Possible”:

“As is explained, at some length, at the opening of the show this is the streaming of the recording of a live event, you get a little bit of the energy and the open spaces that you get with a live theatre peice, you get the mistakes and little trips over words which I think is a real positive because it felt like a theatrical performance.

“There was not an awful lot to get hold of in this show and it ended up being a show about a show that didn't get made. Five minutes in and we're still being explained the difference between a live show and a streamed show. Fifteen minutes in and we still haven't gone anywhere, apart from lots and lots of set-up. We didn't get anywhere at all.

“A lot of what happens is familiar, what I've gone through.. Some of it chimed.

“There's a lot to be said for showing people what they had been through. But it was all a little bit light, at times goes back to talk about the development of the show...outstays its welcome...the writing didn't wow at all, wasn't really very good, not much energy in it...the only time the writing grabbed was to notice the mixed metaphors “the coronavirus exploded like a hurricane.”

“Far too much time spent on the opening explanation..some beautiful monologues...but it took such a long time...I kept coming back to the question. Is this what National Theatre Wales has been up to in the last eighteen months?...“When you look at “Fow” and see how they have thrived within the confines it does make you stop to think.”

Wales Arts Review also watched “Fow” earlier in the year:

“Writer, director and cast of this bold production have created a work of such impressive clarity and purpose.”

Full review at:

Reviewed by: Adam Somerset

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