Best Reviews

Our Best Reviews of 2020

At Wales Arts Review we believe critical writing should be worth reading for its own sake. With that in mind, here is a small selection of the hundreds of reviews we published in 2020, and a small display of the quality critical writing our writers produce.


Gareth Smith reviews award-winning writer Carys Davies’ latest novel, The Mission House.

Emma Schofield reviews Your Still Beating Heart, the new thriller from Tyler Keevil which places moral dilemmas at the heart of a very human story.

Gemma Pearson reviews Hana by Alena Mornštajnová, an award-winning novel set in a Czech town during the aftermath of the Holocaust which has recently been translated into English.

Holly McElroy reviews Dare To Be Great, a recently published guide to unlocking your power to create a better world by Polly Higgins, founder of the Stop Ecocide campaign.


Nathan Munday reviews Small, the new collection from Natalie Ann Holborow which weaves a haunting eating disorder with folklore and mythology.

Thomas Tyrrell reviews Saints and Lodgers, a new selection of the poems of W.H. Davies.

Peter Gaskell delves into Wild Persistence, the latest poetry collection from Katrina Naomi. Available now from Seren Books.

Sophie Baggott reviews Cardiff-based writer and performer Peter Finch’s 26th poetry collection, Machineries of Joy.

Visual Arts

Scott Baines reviews Undo Things Done, the Sean Edwards exhibition that made a mark as Wales’s representative at the Venice Beinnale in 2019 and until the lockdown sat at Ty Pawb in Wrexham.

Josie Cray reviews the Claudia Williams retrospective at the Martin Tinney Gallery in Cardiff.

Martha O’Brien was at the Ffotogallery in Cardiff to review Work to Be Done, a new exhibition of images exploring the hierarchies of the work space and what work means to a functioning society steeped in gender coded territories.


Rosie Couch explores Kitty Green’s new film The Assistant, a thoughtful take on sexual harassment in the workplace for the #MeToo era.

Marine Furet reviews The Two Popes, the Oscar-nominated Netflix original movie that pairs two of Wales’s greatest actors in roles to die for.

Hannah Carter reviews I am Greta, a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the life of teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg.

Matt Taylor reviews Rebecca, Ben Wheatley’s new adaptation of the 1938 romantic thriller novel.


Marine Furet reviews the first instalments of the Sherman Theatre’s innovative audio theatre series, Heart of Cardiff.

Phil Morris reviews First Three Drops, an energetic family play by Elise Davison based on the legend of Taliesin. 

Caragh Medlicott reviews an online double-header from the pen of Gary Owen and produced by Sherman Theatre, Mum & Dad.

Georgia Winstone-Cooper reviews Emily Laurens’ new live performance animation series Dream a Little Dream for Me commissioned by National Theatre Wales.


Bethan Hall reviews the new experimental musical performance piece from Sarah Nicolls, 12 Years, which explores the imminent threat of the climate crisis.

Nigel Jarrett reviews the Brecon Jazz Festival as it defies the limitations of a pandemic to go viral. 

Caragh Medlicott reviews Folklore, the new album from Taylor Swift, a secret lockdown project released on an unsuspecting world this week.


Georgia Winstone-Cooper reviews the first installation of National Dance Company Wales’s online Covid-19 lockdown content 2067: Time and Time and Time.

Marine Furet reviews Plethu/Weave, a cross-artform collaboration between National Dance Company Wales and Literature Wales.


Gareth Kent reviews Tudur Owen’s anecdotal tale of ‘Britain’s Worst Zoo’, the radio comedy-drama, Zoo

Gareth Smith goes on a strange meandering journey with Gruff Rhys and his new radio half hour, Resist Phoney Encores.

Gary Raymond reviews the latest offering from BBC Wales’s new comedy output, Welcome Strangers, a female-led comedy sketch show for radio.


Matt Taylor reviews Red, White and Blue, the third film in Steve McQueen’s five-part anthology shining a spotlight on Black British history. 

Gary Raymond takes a look at the hit Netflix series back for its fourth season, as The Crown heads into the eighties and introduces Margaret Thatcher and Princess Diana into the fray.

Isobel Roach reviews the second season of Amazon Prime original The Boys, as the themes of power and corruption continue to be served up with plenty of violence and comedy.

Emily Garside reviews the new comedy-drama from BBC Wales, In My Skin, a dark teenage coming-of-age story.