Thursday, 15 October 2015

Madcap Comedy with Intelligence

August 012
Chapter Stwdio

Absolutely bonkers and completely madcap Yuri seems to take place in fantasy world where showers spout glitter and it’s perfectly acceptable to abduct a child from Lidl.

August 012 have been presenting ambitions and unusual work in Cardiff for the past few years and are guaranteed to produce a daring and enjoyable show. Although always pushing boundaries director Mathilde Lopez’s work often feels somehow unfinished, as if the physical production doesn’t quite represent her ambitious vision. But this time Lopez has struck gold - Yuri is fully realised and it is glorious!

Ceri Murphy and Carys Eleri revel in the surreal humour

The onstage trio of Carys Eleri (Adele/ Angharad), Ceri Murphy (Patrick) and Guto Wynne Davies (Yuri) work so well together to create the surreal yet believable world of play that they bring you with them, smiling amid the chaos. You become completely involved with the moral predicament Adele and Patrick find themselves in, wanting there to be a good outcome for all.

Dafydd James took on the formidable task of adapting Fabrice Melquiot’s absurd comedy to make it feel as if it is very much a play about Wales and what a good job he has done. It is presented in both Welsh and English versions, having surtitles in the other language for each performance. As someone with only a very basic grasp of Welsh I was still able to fully enjoy the Welsh language version of the show and would urge everyone to go and see a great example of how to make Welsh language theatre understandable for all in innovative and fun ways. Special mention should go to assistant director Elgan Rhys for ensuring continuity between the Welsh and English versions of the show.

Surtitles are integral to the design of the production rather than an afterthought

Although wonderfully chaotic and seemingly disconnected from reality Yuri discusses some very serious issues – such as failing fertility and its implications on fragile masculinity – with surprising sensitivity. Its exploration of national identity also feels very poignant in our world of mass displacement of refugees and the global discussion surrounding aid. Yuri is proof that serous issues don’t have to be presented with po-faced sterility, sometimes laughter really is the best medicine.

I urge you to see this intelligent and hilarious production that is completely leading the way for experimental and visually bold theatre making in South Wales.

Get tickets from

Thursday 15th October 8pm, English, BSL Interpreted Performance
Friday 16th October 8pm, Welsh
Saturday 17th October 2pm, English and 8pm, Welsh

£12/£10 (To see performances in both languages, please contact our box office directly on 029 2030 4400 for a special price of £20/£16)

Recommended for 18+ (nudity and strong language)

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Hilarious Sketch Comedy in Cardiff

Pick N Mixx
Double Dipp
Sherman Theatre2
28th Jan 2015

Cardiff’s newest comedy duo Double Dipp had the sell-out audience in stitches with their debut performance Pick N Mixx at Sherman Cymru.

The pair consists of writer Geraint Jones and performer Louisa Lorey. Together they have created a range of weird and wonderful characters that share their madcap talents and odd life stories – often asking the audience to get involved in the action.

Lorey in character

Lorey showcased her impressive comic timing and huge array of accents, seemingly able to morph into a completely unrecognisable person with each costume change. From Petra the feminist, performance poet to Beverly the dubious psychic medium each new funny lady delivered on the gags and left the audience wanting more.

It’s so refreshing to see such funny female characters, that don’t rely on all the usual clich├ęs or stereotypes. Instead  Double Dipp have breathed new life into stock characters and made them their own.

A selection of the great audience feedback

This show is sure to delight wherever it goes and would be certain to succeed at the Edinburgh Fringe. As the pair continue to develop the piece it will be great to see more of these characters – most of whom could sustain a full length show by themselves.

A hilarious evening of entertainment that will leave you aching with laughter.

Pick N Mixx will be at Swansea’s Grand Theatre Arts Wing on March 6th:

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Playful and Experimental

Invisible City
Chapter Arts Centre
21st January 2015

Invisible City explores the life changing move from a small town to the big city. A wonderfully original one-woman-show full of humour and inventiveness.

Lowri Jenkins, as writer and performer, gave her very all to embodying Marie – a young lady who has moved away from home to a confusing and surreal cityscape. In the imagined megacity Marie must deal with loneliness, job interviews and the seemingly-conscious self-service tills whilst constantly reassuring her mother that she is ok.

Lowri Jenkins as Marie

These frequent phone calls with her mother are played with an honesty everyone can relate to. Although we only hear Marie’s side of the conversation it’s clear to see the love between the two – despite Marie’s constant efforts to say goodbye and hang up.

The relationships with offstage people are often touching and are navigated in innovative and playful ways. In her pursuit of love, Marie even develops a surreal relationship with an exotic-accented lemon. Jenkins delivers just the right about of humour to draw proper belly laughs from the audience.

Marie and her unusual lover

A true collaboration between artists Invisible City brought together a great group of people to contribute to the production. Jennifer Fletcher, director and choreographer, clearly worked very closely with Jenkins to create the often subtle but very effective movement that gave the production its stylised feel. Mat Martin’s original score was perfectly suited to the piece, it would have been nice to hear more of it, rather than the overused voiceovers.

The concept was intriguing but it felt like there was still more work to be done before presenting this production to a paying audience. The main themes/scenes had been fully explored to get every bit of potential from them – to the point that they could have been edited down a bit. The overly simple set and poorly conceived lighting also distracted from the beautifully delivered performance.

Playful, experimental and uplifting – Invisible City is an enjoyable production that falls just short of being great.