"Blasted", "Crouch, Touch, Pause, Engage" etc.
It’s been a fairly busy couple of weeks, at least in terms of theatre-reviewing. I’m just recovering from having seen three productions in five days, all remarkable in their own way. First up was Sarah Kane’s ever-controversial “Blasted”, the none-more-bold first offering from new pub theatre company The Other Room – a very powerful, if stress-inducing piece. Then came “Playing ‘The Maids’” at Chapter; an international, cross-disciplinary collaboration based on the work of Jean Genet, which was rather strange and quite beautiful. And most recently was “Crouch, Touch, Pause, Engage”, from National Theatre Wales at the Sherman; directed by Max Stafford-Clark and written by verbatim theatre specialist Robin Soans. This combines the “coming out” story of rugby legend Gareth “Alfie” Thomas with another tale from the supposed suicide hotspot of Bridgend, his home town; slick and inspirational, it’s machine-tooled to be an audience-pleaser, in South Wales, at least.
And somehow in the midst of all that, was the CULT Cymru Freelancers’ Fair at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, at which, in between manning the Writers’ Guild table (not exactly over-run with punters) I managed to catch up with some old friends, and sit in on some fascinating panel sessions, notably one on women in comedy, featuring author Gwenno Dafydd, top animator Joanna Quinn and Canadian stand-up Dana Alexander.
A week or so earlier was my first experience of the multi-talented Gagglebabble; their entertainingly eerie musical entertainment “The Forsythe Sisters” at the unfamiliar venue of the Norwegian Church in Cardiff Bay. The title is a pun which I didn’t get until halfway through the show.