Writer/composer: Seiriol Davies
Theatr Clwyd (then short tour of Welsh theatres, to mid-May)
April 7-22, 2022; 2 hr 20 min
After a two-year enforced wait due to Covid, Milky Peaks finally makes it to the stage in Mold. Is it worth the wait? Yes it is! This slickly-acted, expertly-sung play is a delight, keeping the audience enthralled the whole evening.
The premise is that a sleepy village in the heart of Snowdonia is awakened by the prospect of taking part in a Britain’s Best Town competition. The village is home to a collection of individuals with diverse backgrounds, whose interests are not always the same, resulting in a battle for the soul of the community and a struggle between powerful egos.
The play raises a whole series of issues that affect the group and the individual, all the way from English imperialism and cultural identity to the sanctity of the person and the "right to be me". While this is an excellent play, which deserves to be seen, you have to wait until the very end before the main point becomes apparent.
The seven cast members – Seiriol Davies, Dylan Townley, Sophie Winter, Miriam O’Brien, Matthew Blake, Lisa Jen Brown and Tanya Bridgeman – cannot be faulted; they are energetic, composed and purposeful throughout, with much of the story delivered in chorus and sung in unison. The whole evening is testament to the direction of Alex Swift and clearly many hours in preparation. Cast members slip seamlessly between individual characters and chorus mode, which allows their personal stories to be related and the overall theme to be delivered.
I loved the imagination in this show. From the choreography and set design (cleverly disguising a grand piano as a slate mountain and a dance floor) to the overall approach by writer Seiriol Davies, Matthew Blake and Dylan Townley, this is highly intelligent theatre that captures the audience and is rewarded by a standing ovation.
But even so, I found it hard to reconcile the conflict between the individual and the community elements of the show. It was as if every individual wanted their voice to be heard, but also wanted to be part of a community – yet the description of community was amorphous, so it was hard to know what exactly each individual wanted to belong to.
The play is presented in The Mix, Theatr Clwyd’s new small temporary theatre, which takes the place of the Emlyn Williams auditorium during the renovations. Despite being a cold night, the blankets provided weren't needed and the space is comfortable and accessible.
Tickets and info here