Blakeson - Writer

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

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Desire Lines

Ian Rowlands’ new play “Desire Lines”, a Sherman Cymru production at Chapter, Cardiff (whose 40th anniversary party was in full swing on the night I attended) is structured with deceptive simplicity – a man in late middle age muses on his life whilst on a long rail/bus journey through a metaphorical Wales (towns with such names as Chavton, Dullage, and Bluerinse Bay; there is a helpful glossary in the programme/playtext), his reflections impinged upon by those of his fellow travellers. Add Rowland’s poetically profane way with dialogue (something of a speciality here in South Wales), Irina Brown’s fluent direction, clever stage and sound design - occasionally illuminated rail-tracks, frequently re-arranged seating, angelic singing, a video backdrop reflecting the onstage drama (a blurred moving landscape, hazy wallpaper, a sunset) - and vivid performances, and what we get is something almost magical. Ifan Huw Dafydd is engagingly vibrant as the Man, with Sue Roderick as his wife, a wordless, nebulous presence until the play’s climax, and Huw Garmon, Alys Thomas and Joshua McCord multi-tasking as other characters, some in whom the central character is invested, and others who have dreams, tragedies, insecurities and over-loud mobile phone conversations of their own to deal with. The occasional rants about Welsh-English tensions, although central to the motivations of the central protagonists (and indeed the author), seemed to belong to a different play, however, tending to disrupt the elegiac tone and yank me out of the drama (but maybe that’s just my Englishness getting in the way); and some of the non-Welsh accents need a little work. For the most part, however, it’s an utterly entrancing journey.

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home