Theatre in Wales

Theatre, dance and performance reviews

Seasonal Round-Up

Quarterly Critical Round-up

Sherman, Fluellen, Linbury Prize, Arad Goch, Theatr Genedlaethol, Bara Caws, Flying Bridge, National Theatre Wales, Scene/ Change , Theatre of Wales First Quarter 2024 , May 23, 2024
Quarterly Critical Round-up   by Sherman, Fluellen, Linbury Prize, Arad Goch, Theatr Genedlaethol, Bara Caws, Flying Bridge, National Theatre Wales, Scene/ Change  Get the Chance was at the SHERMAN THEATRE for “The Wife of Cyncoed”

“...On stage non-stop in a monologue that lasts for one and a half hours with no interval, Vivien Parry – who performed in a preview on her 60th birthday – gives it all she has got from start to finish. Taking place in the upmarket Cardiff suburb of Cyncoed and the atmospheric Lakeside area, this – the first production of the season for the Sherman – has a make-or-break quality about it, in reference to both the plotline and the setting.

“...Jayne, a newly divorced woman whose life takes an unexpected turn, offering her an opportunity that she may or may not be brave enough to take – manages to be both entertaining and poignant, a tale of self-discovery, and second chances, of a road that may or may not be taken.

“...Parry gives a brilliant and empathetic performance, but could do with slowing down her delivery a tad at times in the first hour. Having said that: full marks and more for amazing movement and dance, giving full justice to the underlying message, described by Hartley as “A a howl of rage against how older women are perceived and overlooked.,” and getting under the skin of the character warts and all.”

Quoted, with acknowledgement and thanks, from the full review which can be read at:

https://getthechance.wales/2024/03/13/review-the-wife-of-cyncoed-sherman-theatre-cardiff/

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FLULLEN THEATRE performed “Final Frontier” by Sarah Morgan Jones at the Swansea Grand Theatre and the Met, Abertillery. Its setting was the Severn Bridge, the characters three tollbooth workers and three other characters.

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The NATIONAL THEATRE OF WALES performed a revival of “Circle of Fifths” for four nights in January at the Brixton Place. The theatre, under its former name, has hosted a Cardiff company once before. Made in Wales presented “Giant Steps” by Othneil Smith there.

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An exhibition about the LINBURY PRIZE FOR DESIGN was shown for several months at the National Theatre in London. It featured models and works by several students from RWCMD: BETHAN WALL, ANIA LEVY, JODIE JEW YATES.

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ARAD GOCH presented the latest of its Opening Doors Festival. It is the largest and oldest international theatre festival of Wales for young audiences. Established in 1996 the 10th festival was 12-16 March 2024. The 19 productions are listed at

https://agordrysau.cymru/cynyrchiadau/

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The forces that have gathered in Cardiff to oppose drama grow. THEATR GENEDLAETHOL is the latest to succumb to the infection. The good reviewer at the IWA was at “Ie Ie Ie.”

... less of an exploration and more of a collective discussion...Ie Ie Ie seems to envisage theatre as a kind of therapeutic act – safe, controlled, and facilitative. But where Ie Ie Ie fulfils its function as a didactic workshop, it loses its pace as a play...texts read out loud by members of the audience. There are also video interviews of young people.

"...a surprising lack of emotional depth: the characters are not so much three-dimensional, flesh and blood as they are archetypal...Ie Ie Ie ultimately leaves little to be experienced or intuited...it felt hard to engage with a show whose sole logical end is for us to agree with it.”

Quoted, with acknowledgement and thanks, from the full review which can be read at:

https://www.iwa.wales/agenda/2024/02/theatr-genedlaethol-cymru/

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BARA CAWS toured again with “Y Ddraenen Ddu”.

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FLYING BRIDGE THEATRE returned to London, the OSO Centre, with “A Regular Little Houdini.”

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In Birmingham two and a half hours of the musical “Bhangra Nation” had a cast of over twenty and was a popular success at the Repertory Theatre.

In Cardiff SCENE/ CHANGE presented an evening at the Sherman of rehearsed readings by Jannat Ahmed, Rha Arayal, Rithvik Andugula, Nia Gandhi and Amir Khan.

The initiative is to welcomed. The publicity for the events made claims for the novelty of the event that were not true.

MADE IN WALES presented “Safar” by Afshan Malik in 1997. It sold out for its whole run. It was a fully fledged play about Muslim young people of Wales.

More recently, as part of THEATRE UNCUT, readings were heard of “A Coin in Someone Else’s Pocket” by Suhaiymah Manzoor Khan, “Who Runs The World” by Atiha Sen Gupta’s and “The Power of Plumbing” by Sabrina Mahfouz.

Critical writing in the current day is sagging badly, both acuity and accuracy not faring well. Again the issue of diversity raises itself in theatre in Wales.

As an instance a woman dramatist wrote “Trouble in Butetown”. Her characters included a Black American GI and a Muslim sailor, with speeches about Marcus Garvey. It got to be seen in 2023 by audiences in England but not in Wales.

“Looking at the Gap”, a survey of theatre and diversity, was published three years ago. It appears in the sequence “Theatre in Wales: Comment”. It may be read via number 33 in the list right “Top 50 Reviews” and scrolling to 16th April 2021.

Othneil Smith's report on Theatre Uncut can be read at:

http://www.walesartsreview.org/theatre-uncut-power-plays-the-other-room/

Illustration: Linbury Design Exhibit

Reviewed by: Adam Somerset

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