Theatre in Wales

Theatre, dance and performance reviews

Theatr na nÓg, Fluellen, Wales Millennium Centre, Theatr Clwyd, Tic Toc, National Theatre of Wales

Quarterly Critical Round-up

Performance Abundant , February to April 2023 , May 11, 2023
Quarterly Critical Round-up by Performance Abundant THEATR NA NÓG broke the ice for 2023 after the Christmas shows. IOAN HEFIN was to be sighted again in the Usk area as Alfred Russell Wallace. January 8th 2023 marked the 200th birthday of the great naturalist.

“You Should Ask Wallace” was a short reprise but it was the kick-start for theatre's first full year since 2019.

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Among names of old FLUELLEN premiered “Past Imperfect” by SARAH MORGAN JONES. After Swansea Grand Theatre’s Arts Wing the company played the Met Abertillery and the Grand Pavilion Porthcawl.

JON GOWER called it a “taut and troubling play.” Launderette workers Maeve and Mandy “really look after their customers, performing kindnesses such as picking up prescriptions for the incontinent “wet-the-bed brigade”...a man enters the launderette under cover of darkness, rifling through the cash box to reveal what may be an old photograph…”

...”Past Imperfect” is a hard-hitting and challenging play about how the past sows dark seeds for future harvest....Sarah Morgan Jones, in this her confident, deftly-structured debut play, has fashioned a searching exploration of the deeply felt and pernicious effects of a harrowing childhood as those children grow up. In the case of Gordie and Mandy, the mutual recognition that they have both suffered offers the possibility of some sort of future reconciliation, or, at the very least, of understanding”

“...with a sure sense of drama, coupled with a definite, strong voice and something genuine and troubling and genuinely troubling at that.”

Full review at:

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LEEWAY PRODUCTIONS presented “Queerway.” Luke Hereford conceived and directed the production described as “a brand new song cycle musical that celebrates and shares the true stories of queer people and those connected to them growing up in the South Wales valleys coming from the incredible minds “

It gave evidence of a revolution in societal behaviours and attitudes. David Edgar's dramatisation of the experience of a gay man in the Rhondda in the 1980's can be seen in the article of tribute of 23rd February below. In 2023 this celebration packed out venues where it played.

Regrettably its tour did not cross the line north of the rivers Loughor to Usk. Its venues were Wales Millennium Centre, Porthcawl, the Factory Porth, Theatr Soar Merthyr, Ffwrnes Theatre, Llanelli.

The credits included:

Written and composed by Geraint Owen; musical direction Connor Fogel; Created with Emmy Stonelake & Harrison Scott Smith; additional Material and ochestration Branwen Munn; produced by Leeway Productions, supported by RCT Theatres and Wales Millennium Centre.

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The largest tour was to the credit of “TIC TOC” which sang itself joyously from Chapter to Blackwood, Treorchy, Merthyr, Llanelli, Newtown, Rhosllannerchrugog, Denbigh, Cricieth, Caernarfon , Aberystwyth, Carmarthen, Milford and Ystradgynlais.

Its characters were women garment workers in the Valleys in the 1960s to 70s. Their cause was equal pay.

The all-woman company of Gillian Elisa, Lowri-Ann Richards, Clare Hingott, Olwen Rees, Mary-Anne Roberts and Carys Gwilym was remarkable for spirit and gusto and vocal power.

"Tic Toc" was let down by a book that was not the equal of its company. Its emotions were not interesting enough and its prime plot point clunky and too absolute. But the performers...

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WALES MILLENNIUM CENTRE presented “How Shall We Begin Again?” described as “a new performance initiated by artist Jo Fong.” On two days, 11th and 12th February 2023 it began at mid-day and went on to 8:00 PM.

The sixteen hours of performance were created and performed by 50 people: Adeola Dewis, Andrew Tadd, Bert Van Gorp, Bunmi Odumosu, Dee Aud Rogers, Deepraj Singh, Catriona James, Cêt Haf, Deborah Light, Dominika Rau, Donna Males, Dylan Davies, Eddie Ladd, Etien Davies, Farah Allibhai, Frances Bolley, Gareth Clark, George Orange, Idrissa Camara, Indigo Tarran, Jacques Colgate, Jain Boon, Jessie Brett, Jo Fong, Jodi Ann Nicholson, Jonny Cotsen, June Campbell-Davies, Katherine Hall, Kevin McIntosh, Krystal Dawn Campbell, Krystal S. Lowe, Lara Ward, Liam Wallace, Linzy Na Nakorn, Marega Palser, Mari Hullett, Mike Williams, ZiHong Mok, Nandi Andrea Payne, Osian Meilir, Poppy né Caroline Sabin, Rabab Ghazoul, Robin Liew Harper, Rosalind Hâf Brooks, Sahar Saki, Sara McGaughey, Sara Sirati, Shakeera Ahmun, Shivaangee Agrawal, Stuart Campbell, Tiago Gambogi, Thomas Lowe and Zosia Jo.

It was researched at Wales Millennium Centre with members of Striking Attitudes and later within a shared residency called Ways of Being Together at Toynbee Hall, London with support from Artsadmin. It was supported by Siobhan Davies Studios and commissioned by Neurolive.

Other credits:

Artistic Support: Jodi Ann Nicholson, Indigo Tarran
Lighting Creative Advisor: Martin Hunt
Audio Description Design: Shivaangee Agrawal
Sound and Video Design: Mo Yousef
Production Manager: Luke Davies
Lighting Designer/Operator: Ella Cunnison
Sound Designer/Operator: Thomas Hamer

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THEATR CLYWD had a co-production credit for the tour of “Home I'm Darling”, its pre-pandemic National Theatre collaboration.

Bill Kenright Productions took the 2019 Olivier Winner for Best New Comedy to Mold, Theatre Royal Windsor, Derby, Glasgow, Bath, Malvern, Eastbourne, Woking, Cheltenham, Richmond, Brighton, Birmingham, Cambridge, Canterbury.

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THE NATIONAL THEATRE OF SCOTLAND performed “The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart” for eight weeks in New York City at the McKittrick Hotel. It goes on to tour other US venues.

The production followed “Burn” at the Joyce Theatre in New York in October 2022. The company's tally in the USA is 13 productions at 44 venues across 17 U.S states.

“Kidnapped” toured Greenock, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Inverness, Perth, Newcastle and Brighton 28th March to 20th May.

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The Arts Council of Wales states “Your Funding Agreement...A commitment to working internationally… The culture of Wales is a world culture and this is the arena it needs to operate in, locally and internationally.”

In the first four months of 2023 The NATIONAL THEATRE OF WALES performed for 8 days. The production played in one venue and did not tour.

The 2023 productions by THEATR GENEDLAETHOL CYMRU and the NATIONAL THEATRE OF WALES will feature in a separate article on the way that they communicate with their public.

Reviewed by: Adam Somerset

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