Writers, Truth: Christian Patterson, Melangell Dolma, Lucie Lovatt, Alexandria Riley. Ceri Ashe
Writers, Dare: Bethan Marlow, Hannah Daniel, Greg Glover, Natasha Kaeda, Kallum Weyman
Theatr Clwyd production
Theatr Clwyd, Mold
April 27 - May 13, 2023; Two one-hour sections, can be seen separately or together
Ten separate vignettes, two themes - Dare and Truth - in two one-hour sessions that can be viewed separately, or together with an extended interval. Would we miss a unifying storyline to tie the disparate pieces together?
I’ve seen films that have a series of vignettes showcasing particular actors, and often they have failed to live up to expectations. This similar, live, evening is a great idea, but could very easily fall flat. Individual vignettes must hold our attention and be noteworthy, and across 10, clearly some will be stronger than others.
In Dare, four out of the five are excellent, two of them grabbing genuine belly laughs from the audience. Truth is not quite as successful, though the final vignette was greeted rapturously.
There is plenty of interaction with the audience, some of whom are invited to participate at appropriate times. Viewers are also asked to take an object that might be used as part of the action, some of which will have a fortuitously excellent impact. The fourth vignette - a tussle between two Druids and a fortune-hunting archaeologist over buried treasure - had "treasure" consisting of a solid version of a certain brown and very popular emoji; not the only instance where the object added a surreal touch to the action.
There are two separate teams of actors and creatives for the two sections of the show. The "Dare" trio of Laura Dalgleish, Kieran Bailey and Caitlin Drake are excellent in Bethan Marlow’s And the Crowd Goes Boom and Callum Weyman’s piece, Show Us but both teams are cohesive and enthusiastic throughout.
This is an imaginative piece of theatre, which allows 10 writers to showcase their work and actors to steal 10 minutes each in the spotlight. It is also mixed-language, with some pieces in Welsh and some in English, with translations on stage-side screens for the monolingual. For me there was a disconnect during the Welsh-language sections - I know little Welsh, so looked either at the stage or at the words and found it hard to follow both. Promoting theatre in Welsh is an excellent idea, but I am not sure how well it works in this piece.
Overall, though, audiences are left with a fulfilling experience: a really good laugh and mostly-sustained quality across all 10 very different pieces.
Tickets and information here