From literature deep-dives to reflections on the visual arts to the latest in Welsh language dramas, our readers have eclectic tastes and have kept coming back for more. So, without further ado, here are our top 10 most read reviews of 2022, spanning theatre, Film and TV, literature and music.
Y Golau / The Light in the Hall | TV Review
“When Scanlan is on screen, you’re sort of waiting for the tragic humour she is so expert ay injecting into grave set-ups, but she never really gets to do that. Her daughter, Greta, played by Annes Elwy, could very well steal the show. She has the best lines. She undoubtedly has a greater role to play in the plot as the inevitable twists and turns unravel in future episodes.” Gary Raymond reviews a gritty Welsh crime drama from S4C and Channel 4. Read the review here.
Dal Y Mellt | TV – Wales Arts Review | TV Review
“While the action starts predominately on the streets of Cardiff, it resists the temptation to become yet another city-based crime thriller and quickly winds its way out into the picturesque countryside of Gwynedd.” Emma Schofield reflects on a crime thriller with a difference from S4C. Read the full review here.
Milky Peaks | Theatr Clwyd | Theatre Review
“It takes nerve, in a gay-themed musical, to close the first half with a number suggesting that the community lost something important when it turned legal. Similarly, it’s rare for a show in Wales to raise the issue of the overwhelming whiteness of Welsh nationalism.” David Cottis reviews a musical recounting the antics of a community thrown into disarray by a nomination for “Britain’s Best Town”. You can read the review here.
Frank | National Theatre Wales | Theatre Review
“It’s a shame because Frank is good. It’s very good. It’s well-written and well-realised, beautifully shot, and well-acted, and manages to create eleven minutes of depth and nuance; it is honestly moving, visually strong, and like all good short films, lingers like a flash in the darkness.” Gary Raymond reviews a new collaboration from National Theatre Wales with funding from the German Embassy and the Goethe Institute, London, read it in full here.
Jess Gillam at St David’s Cathedral Festival | Music Review
“That energy that Gillam extols has a legacy, and for an encore, her bubbling take on “Histoire de tango” is so infectious there’s no doubt had she carried that riff out the Cathedral door and up the hill into the woods, the congregation would have gladly followed her in procession perhaps never to be seen again.” Gary Raymond enjoys an energetic performance from saxophonist Jess Gillam. Read the review, and interview, here.
The Corn Is Green | Theatre | Theatre Review
“Few actors are as good as conveying intelligence as Nicola Walker, and she approaches the part with forensic skill, playing set piece scenes, like a mock-flirtation to get the dim-witted squire onside, for all they’re worth, and making the character likeable despite the control-freakery that causes Evans (Iwan Davies, making his professional debut) to rebel just before the First Act curtain.” David Cottis reviews a revival of Emlyn Williams’ classic play, The Corn is Green. Read it in full here.
Staged 3 | Michael Sheen and David Tennant | TV Review
“And that’s really the magic that means that Staged still works as it makes the leap from pandemic mood-lifter to one of the sharpest comedies to hit our screens this year. The tight script, contained episodes and slightly surreal sense of confusion about what’s real and what’s not in this almost-but-not-quite reality.” As Staged returned to our screens for its first post-pandemic series, Emma Schofield took a look at what makes this surreal comedy work. Read the review here.
La bohème | Welsh National Opera | Opera Review
“Armenian soprano Anush Hovhannisyan, a finalist in the 2017 Cardiff Singer of the World competition, allows Mimi to assume the rarely achieved state of being able to express the passion that deprivation and the jealousy of her lover Rodolfo have crushed.” Nigel Jarret reviews the WNO’s revival production of Puccini’s La bohème. You can read it in full here.
Of Mice and Men | Torch Theatre | Theatre Review
“The cast as a whole work hard in drawing out the nuances behind the characters’ tough exteriors as the play progresses and we are immersed into the microcosmic world of Curly’s ranch. Some characters are more well-drawn than others, but that’s a product of Steinbeck’s text rather than a criticism of the play and its players.” Jay Gent was at Torch Theatre to see Steinbeck’s seminal novel brought to life. Read more here.
The Blue Book of Nebo by Manon Steffan Ros | Book Review
“The Blue Book of Nebo’s thorough appreciation for the Welsh language and Welsh literature is one of its prevalent themes, and most commendable features. It examines the common (though often difficult) relationship English-speaking Welsh parents have with their Welsh-speaking children.” Tilly Foulkes reviews The Blue Book of Nebo by Manon Steffan Ros, an English translation of Ros’ Welsh language novel Llyfr Glas Nebo. Read more here.