Blakeson - Writer

Cardiff-based film, theatre and gig reviews, cultural ramblings, whingeing, short films, etc.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

"Love Forty" / Waterstones Cardiff

I was part of a full house in the Media Centre Cardiff’s Chapter Arts Centre to see a script-in-hand “On The Edge” presentation of “Love Forty”, an early play by Wales’ most popular playwright, Frank Vickery, dubbed the “Ayckbourn of the Valleys”; although this piece strays into Bergman territory, being a dissection of a forty-year middle-class marriage which was entered into cold-bloodedly. Producer-director Michael Kelligan, and Anwen Williams are Ralph (deceptively jolly) and Marcia (prickly and sarcastic), preparing to attend their Ruby Wedding celebration; they co-exist and increasingly interact with their younger, identically-dressed selves - James Aston and Naomi Martell. Despite some self-consciously laboured metaphors, and an ending which appears to verge on the glib (or maybe it was just rushed), the piece was both affecting and amusing. The author avoided the irritating phenomenon (fairly common in radio drama) where long-married characters have the kind of conversations which, realistically, would have to have occurred years before (“You mean you almost married Jim?”), since non-communication is inherent to the relationship; there were a couple of instances of “What’s that supposed to mean?”, however, which, in my view, is always worth taking the trouble to avoid.

Big news in Wales at the moment is the cancellation of a reading by poet Patrick Jones, at Waterstones in Cardiff, due to a threat by an organisation calling itself “Christian Voice”. Ridiculous, of course, but at least it will provide a welcome publicity-boost for his book “Darkness Is Where The Stars Are”, published by Cinnamon Press – to steal a line from The Rutles film, people will be buying copies in their thousands, just to burn them.


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