"Mr & Mrs Laughton" / "Cosy" / British Dance Edition
The “A Play, A Pie and A Pint” programme, from Glasgow’s Òran Mór, paid its third visit to Cardiff’s Sherman Cymru last week, with “Mr and Mrs Laughton”, Michael-Alan Read’s play about the marriage of legendary actors Charles Laughton and Elsa Lanchester; a relationship which was somewhat complicated by his homosexuality, not to mention his egotism. Obviously, at less than 40 minutes, there were many areas that weren’t addressed (mostly to do with their work) but the performances were powerful, and it was very entertaining. Sadly, however, the inclusive drink option (the “Pint” element of the deal) didn’t include cider (although the cheese pie was tasty).
Less fun, but probably more momentous was “Cosy”, the latest from Kaite O’Reilly, in the Weston Studio at the Wales Millennium Centre. A family drama, this focusses on Sharon Morgan’s elderly Rose who brings together her bickering daughters in order to inform them that she wishes to take her own life before ill health robs her of the ability to make the choice. The fact that the central character is painted as a not especially caring mother makes it quite hard to empathise, but it was all very well done, with Sara Beer shining as her sarcastic, disabled friend who is less well disposed to euthanasia.
|Candoco (photo - Hugo Glendinning)|
Most recently was another event at the W.M.C., this time in the main arena, as the British Dance Edition, an international trade show for the contemporary dance industry hit town. Mostly consisting of invite-only showcases for producers and promoters, there were a couple of public performances, including the one I attended – a triple bill featuring National Contemporary Dance Wales (with “Tuplet”, a piece I saw a few weeks ago at the Sherman), Candoco, a company which integrates disabled and non-disabled performers, and the internationally renowned Hofesh Shechter Company. All quite fascinating, and only occasionally baffling. There was another treat beforehand, in the foyer area – a piece by Reckless Sleepers, which consisted of five women destroying the chairs they were sitting on using saws, which seemed to be an unlikely crowd-pleaser.