Blakeson - Writer

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

Sunday, December 14, 2014

More Festive Theatre / Wales Arts Review

I’ve been lucky enough to see three plays in the past week and review them for the British Theatre Guide.

First up was the most lavish – Sherman Cymru’s main stage revival of Dominic Cooke’s version of “Arabian Nights”, first produced in the late 1990s in London. Very colourful and impressive, creating a folk-troupe-telling-stories ambiance by casting talented actor-musicians.

Next it was the unfamiliar environment of the Park Conservative Club on Cardiff’s City Road, for Susan Kingman’s semi-autobiographical one-woman show “I’ll Be There Now” – a tale of growing up in and away from a small Valleys town; told with great charm and verve.

And finally it was back to the Sherman, and their show for younger children, Katherine Chandler’s take on Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Ugly Duckling”; a tale with which we can all relate. Great fun, and it seemed to keep the attention of all but the very tiniest audience members.

The news came through yesterday that the Wales Arts Review has had its funding withdrawn by the Welsh Books Council and is to cease its online operation. A great shame, since impartial and intellectually ambitious discussion of the arts is essential for them to thrive, especially in such a small country, and one so riven with (artistic) incestuousness and negativism.

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