Theatre in Wales

Theatre, dance and performance reviews

Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru

Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru Chwalfa , Pontio , February 19, 2016
Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru by Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru  Chwalfa Alfred Hickling was a long-term critic for the Guardian covering northern England. He was a regular reviewer of Theatr Clwyd and was at Pontio for the delayed opening of "Chwalfa".

Hickling soon after ceased to write for the paper as part of its economy drive.

In excerpt:

“The University of Bangor owes its existence to the slate workers who pooled their wages to establish a college that might enable their children to have a better life than they had experienced. So it’s fitting that the first production at Pontio, the University’s futuristic new arts complex, should be an epic presentation of the industrial struggle upon which the institution was founded.

"Chwalfa (“Upheaval”) examines the events of a strike at Penrhyn Quarry, which ran from 1900-03 and still counts as the longest industrial dispute in Britain. It is based on the novel by T Rowland Hughes, a quarryman’s son who studied at Bangor and became a BBC producer, novelist and poet. If you’ve never read it, the chances are you don’t speak Welsh; though that need not be a barrier to appreciating the adaptation presented by Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru, the Welsh-language national theatre of Wales.

“For the non-Welsh speaker, Arwel Gruffydd’s production is perfectly intelligible, partly because the determination to rise above poverty and oppression speaks an international language...two of the characters migrate south to find alternative work in the coalfields and have the devil of a time trying to understand the accents in Cardiff.

“The professional cast is supplemented by a large community ensemble, whose singing makes as great an impact as you’d expect from this part of the world. Llion Williams is superb as a union leader who likens the slate workers’ lot to the servitude of the Israelites in Egypt: his powerful.”

Excerpts, with thanks, from the full review to be read at:

Reviewed by: Adam Somerset

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