Theatre in Wales

Theatre, dance and performance reviews

Cardiff Theatre Detonates with Impact

At Company of Sirens

Reviewers Applaud “Stone the Crows” by Tim Rhys , Chapter , May 5, 2022
At Company of Sirens by Reviewers Applaud “Stone the Crows” by Tim Rhys "In-Yer-Face Theatre” is not an elegant phrase. Nonetheless it is one that Aleks Sierz used for the title of his book for Methuen in 2001. Sierz followed a strand of theatre that had made itself distinct from the main current of new writing.

Rooted in the expressionist rather than naturalistic tradition its writers and proponents favour gestural force over psychological nuance, situational starkness over plot density, heightened expression over colloquial mimesis.

In the theatre of Wales Chris Durnall has been the director most consistent in its making and representation. The strand of theatre embraces writers such as Nick Grosso, Anthony Nielson Martin Crimp, Sarah Kane, Philip Ridley.

The last playwright has been championed by Chris Durnall with productions of “Tender Napalm”, “Mercury Fur” and “Dark Vanilla Jungle.” Anthony Neilson's “Stitching” is in similar theatrical territory.

“Stone the Crows” is Company of Sirens and Winterlight's first appearance in the post-Covid-19 resurrection of theatre. Tim Rhys' play fits the tradition and reviewers were enthusiastic.

Jenny March was there for the Western Mail:

“The play is beautifully staged in the round with a leaf-strewn forest floor...Tim Rhys's script shimmers with tension and beauty while actors Boo Golding and Oliver Morgan Thomas deliver hypnotic, impassioned performances.

“...Golding's increasingly frenzied delivery is thrillingly deranged, while Morgan Thomas perfectly embodies cool hatred and lack of empathy. Threaded through it all is Eren Anderson’s sparse, spookily beautiful live music accompaniment...It's a superb achievement from Cardiff-based theatre company Company of Sirens"

Barbara Hughes-Moore was there for Get the Chance:

“Directed with kinetic intensity by Chris Durnall, “Stone the Crows” is the transcendent culmination of everything Company of Sirens has worked to achieve. This is a play about borders: between people, between identities, between the urban and the rural, and between those who respect the land and those who gut it for profit. Even its setting transcends categories or definitions: Rhys terms it a ‘social jungle’, a liminal space in which the tangible and the psychological blur together.

“... Nature though, is the master here, captured by Eren Anderson’s exquisite music. His soundscape beautifully weaves the gently unspooling song of the forest. He plays, at first, only when we are in Crow’s perspective, as if the primal music of the spheres flows only through them, and not Tucker. All we hear when Tucker speaks is the snap of a twig underfoot and the susurrus of rustling leaves. But then, when allegiances and sympathies start to shift, their melodies intertwine like roots.

“Hypnotic and engrossing, Stone the Crows is a masterpiece of gorgeous brutality. The play leaves us at a threshold, and you must decide whether to turn back or to cross into the unknown.”

Extract, with thanks, from the review which can be read in full at:

Previous productions by Company of Sirens below:

2018: “The Wolf Tattoo”

2017: “The Nether”

2016: “Bash”

2015: “Dark Vanilla Jungle”

2014: “Tender Napalm”

2013: “Troyanne”

2012: “Stitching”

2010/ 2011: “Sean Tyrone”

Reviewed by: Adam Somerset

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