The In-Between | Theatr Clwyd & National Youth Theatre

The In-Between | Theatr Clwyd & National Youth Theatre

Cerys-Leigh Phipps reviews The In-Betweena comedy about all the challenges of adolescence written for the National Youth Theatre of Wales Ensemble 2022.

Meet Fay. She is young, undoubtedly talented and has dreams bigger than all her classmates combined; but it is the confidence to achieve these dreams that she lacks. After freezing in front of her whole class and teacher at drama school, a seed of doubt is planted in her mind as her aspirations of becoming a musical theatre actress start to vanish. Is she actually talented enough? Does she deserve to be at drama school? Will she ever make it in the business? Letter of resignation in hand, Fay encounters some interesting yet insightful characters along the way to her supposed final class, each unconsciously teaching her key life lessons, resilience, and self-assurance. 

Written by the renowned Alexandria Riley and Gary Owen, The In-Between perfectly captures the feelings of self-doubt and fear we have all dealt with while growing up. Being a teenager is hard. The fear of not fitting in, the feelings of uncertainty about who we really are and being clueless about what comes next are just some of the issues Riley and Owen explore through this hilarious and frequently heart-warming piece. Saturated by nostalgia, Riley and Owen invite the audience to relive their teenage years via Fay and her peers, finding a balance between enjoyment of the past and reassurance for future generations.

Welsh language and culture is at the heart of this production, too. Creating a bridge between both languages, the actors seamlessly switch from English to Welsh dialogue throughout the show. The character of Fay’s Welsh Nanna surely hits sentimental notes for much of the audience, too, while also serving as a motivating figure for Fay (telling her she has “the voice of an angel love”). One thing this production should be applauded for, in particular, is its focus on inclusivity in both its cast and audience. With the inclusion of subtitles for all dialogue in both languages above the action on stage as well as having a BSL interpreter present, The In-Between creates a welcoming environment befitting of its themes.

The In-Between is truly a showcase of some of the best young Welsh talent on offer today. Although only ranging from 16-22 years in age, watching this 24-piece cast is an experience in and of itself. Ensemble work is a focal point in this physical production, but room is made for individuals to shine when appropriate. As well as the main plotline, the play also deals with numerous other eternal teenage struggles from first loves to break ups to peer pressure and the looming shadow of adulthood. Yet, it is the comedic tinge and sense of sincerity which gives each of these topics a humanity which makes them truly impactful. 

The In-Between is immersive and uniquely stylised through some of its artistic choices. Most notably, the character of Fay is multi-rolled, with a number of actors taking on the role throughout the performance. This clever technique allows for performers to offer different interpretations of the character, as well as broadening Fay’s experiences to show how they may be felt by more than just one person. Minimalist staging – with simple basic blocks on display – ensures that there isn’t overcrowding distracting from the drama unfolding on stage. Depending on the scene, these blocks are moved and readjusted and then used as needed. Ultimately, The In-Between offers a reflection befitting of its title, suggesting that caught between the uncertainties of childhood and adulthood, it’s sometimes okay to simply enjoy the space “in-between”.


Find out more about The In-Between here.