Welsh Theatre has continued to make us laugh, cry and dream throughout 2020, with many productions taking on a new, online form to ensure they could still reach their audiences. Here’s our top ten list of Welsh Theatre productions from this year, put together by our Wales Arts Review contributors. Our number one will be announced on Monday 21st of December.
MUM & DAD (Sherman Theatre, online)
“What Owen’s MUM & DAD reminds us is that vibrancy of voice is what truly sparks our memories and stops lives being boiled down to mere milestones.” Read the rest of Caragh’s review here.
Metamorphosis (Hijinx, online)
“Whilst creating this production must have been a difficult feat, it never appears to be trying too hard to be clever and innovative; it simply is. It is fresh and enjoyably mind-bending, thought provoking and often a laugh-out-loud comic absurdity.” Read Georgia’s full review here.
The Twits (Unicorn Theatre, online)
“It can’t be an accident that Ned Bennett and the Unicorn Theatre have chosen The Twits as the production to spearhead their online existence during the closure of theatres in the UK. The message of the story is that goodness is worth practicing for its own sake, as well as the sake of the wider world. Ugliness shows, and nobody wants to live in an ugly world.” Click here for Gary’s full review.
Souvenir of a Killing (Company of Sirens)
“This is part two of what I would like to be an ongoing project linking an artwork to personal experience, so that the memory of the event is soundtracked and enveloped by that artwork, thus with the passing of time the artwork takes over. The memory can’t exist without its context.” Read the rest of Chris’ article here.
The Beauty Parade (Kaite O’Reilly, WMC Cardiff)
“The production is an undeniable achievement, a moving piece characterised by O’Reilly’s distinctive attention to questions of accessibility and deafness.” To continue reading Marine’s review, click here.
Tylwyth (Theatr Genedlaethol & Sherman Theatre)
“While Tylwyth is partly about older men bemoaning the closure of beloved bars or the addition of several new letters to the LGBT rainbow, it is also much more than this. It does not simply present gay characters who are Welsh, but rather argues for the inextricable links between these two facets of identity. This representation of a specifically Welsh – and Welsh-speaking – queerness is novel and the use of music to express such hybridity is particularly innovative.” Read the rest of Gareth’s review here.
Stone’s Throw, Lament of the Selkie (Rachel Taylor-Beales & Lucy Rivers)
“Universal themes of belonging, the weight of water and the energy of waves, and the need we all have to keep on changing our coats are intermingled with Taylor-Beales’ own journey.” Click here to read Cath’s full review.
Llyfr Glas Nebo (Fran Wen)
“The play’s emotional impact is due in no small part to its main actors, who deliver the most dramatic scenes with nuance, embodying raw emotion without drifting into melodrama.” Continue reading Karin’s review here.
Winners (Nova Theatre)
“Winners maintains an excellent balance of comedy and drama. Jenkins’ dialogue is fast-paced and the cast play off each other expertly. The comic timing of Morgan-Thomas is especially enjoyable. Jenkins and Morgan-Thomas are believable as a couple and by giving the audience such a role of authority and responsibility, invites a feeling of deep intimacy and even discomfort.” For Georgia’s full review, click here.
First Three Drops (Taking Flight)
“After many, seemingly endless months of lockdown, government-issued guidelines and generalised low-level anxiety, it was a real tonic for this reviewer to discover a show that in its accessibility, multi-lingual interplay and digitised goofiness seemed to open up a world of possibilities.” Read the rest of Phil’s review here.
Previous Welsh Theatre number ones:
2018: All But Gone (The Other Room)
2017: The Revlon Girl (Pontardawe Arts Centre)
Wales Arts Review works to bring our readers the best critical writing from Wales, and the best critical writing about Wales. It is a place where passionate and informed arts critics, from Wales and beyond, can find expression. Our writers are neither drum-beaters nor axe-grinders but simply knowledgeable and dedicated people who care deeply about culture and society.
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