Category Archives: Now You’re Talking 2007

Spring 2007 season.Compelling interviews with many well established Welsh and Wales-based playwrights can be read in Hazel Walford Davies’ recently published book, ‘Now You’re Talking – Drama in Conversation.

Botticelli’s Bonfire by Greg Cullen

Performance

Chapter, Cardiff, Wed 13 June 2007, 8pm, £3 on the door

Cast

Magdalena Agnali – Jane Aherne

Julia,Clarice De Medici, Evangelista Agnall – Melissa Amner-Hill

Jailer, Narrator – Sam Bees

Salviati, Fillipo Agnali – Jonathan Buckeridge

Savonarola – Lee Clotworthy

Sandro Botticelli – James Early

Angelo Poliziao, Friar 1, Cesare Borgia, Guiseppe – Stephen Humpherson

Bottielli’s Landlady, Pope Alexander VI, Donatella – Bethan Ingram

Piero De Medici, Attendant, Friar 2 – Carwyn James

Angelo’s Lover, Soderini – James Lucas

Whore 1, Lucrezia De Medici, Maria Agnali – Sara Melton

La Riccia, Gina, Rosa Salviati, Drunk – Delyth Morris

Niccolo Machiavelli – Tim Newns

Frienza, Clarice’s Mother, Lucretia Borgia, Chloris, Venus – Katy Owen

Lorenzo De Medici- Gareth Potter

Guiliano De Medici, Roberto, Friar 3, Innkeeper, Mercury – Marek Rakowski

Whore 2, Simonetta Soderini, Marcella Agnali – Sophie Roberts

Giovanni De Medici, Prior Cellini – Jonathan Scholtan

Marietta Machiavelli, Sophia – Lizzy Watts

Director

Greg Cullen

Assistant Directors

Amy Daly

Caroline Smith

Sound/ Lighting

Charlie Carter

Set

Catherine Winton

 

Paradise Drive by Charles Way

Performance

Chapter, Cardiff, Wed 16 May 2007, 8pm, £3 on the door

Cast

Jennifer – Janine Cooper-Marshall

Sally – Stacey Daly

David – Ceri Mears

John – Alastair Sill

Director

David Prince

 

Franco’s Bastard by Dic Edwards

Performance

Chapter, Cardiff, Thurs 5 Apr 2007, 8pm, £3 on the door

 


Cast

Carlo- Michael Kelligan

Serena/Ruby – Laura Carli Hughes

Ben – Richard Shackley

Sion- Alex Harries

Director

Michael Kelligan

Review

DIC Edwards’s savagely satirical attack on nationalism may be one the best-known plays of the century so far – it aroused almost as much outrage as did Caradoc Evans’s Taffy almost a century before – but it still lacks a good production. Sgript Cymru’s version in 2002 wasn’t and Mike Kelligan’s script-in-hand version as part of his On The Edge season certainly isn’t either. But although the play has not been well served to date the strengths still come through here – even when the lead had to be taken over at the last minute by the director following an illness in the cast.

Based on the implausible hero of the Free Wales Army, Julian Cayo Evans, Carlo Francisco Franco Lloyd Hughes is a mix of bravado, fantasy, frightening racism, sexism, erudition and plain loopiness. Whether it’s deliberate or just through having the role thrust upon him, Kelligan makes him seem a whimsical daydreamer rather than a figure of fun, much less the saviour of Wales, albeit one made more scary by his utter lack of intelligence. The whole nationalism project gets a general rubbishing by Edwards, with its leader here not only a fascist but the imagined illegitimate son of a fascist. Edwards is the sort of master of language that his hero would like to have been and his witty mixture of contempt and ridicule is coruscating.

One thing a rehearsed reading like this can do is simplify the narrative and, indeed, stripped of a set and any real characterisation, the play is revealed as very funny and surreal – the conscription of a mindless Cardiff lad to the liberation project on the basis that he’s on the run in West Wales after having allegedly killed his boss with a frozen fish. His short-lived sponsor is a dim-witted hardliner who can spend ages debating the colour of Welsh blood and whose devotion to Carlo has more than a hint of repressed homosexuality – his only vaguely sane colleague is a mixed-race holiday-job barmaid who may well, it transpires, be not only Carlo’s new mistress but his daughter. You’ll see the weaknesses of the script – yes, it’s intentionally ridiculous but also unnecessarily conventional in the introduction of a love interest and bizarrely unlikely in the girl’s attraction to Carlo and the flashback that suggests he begat her during a racist rape.

I suspect that a full production could exploit the absurdity and the politics. Kelligan has previously served Dic Edwards well, with a visceral production of Utah Blue, but Franco’s Bastard has eluded him as it did Simon Harris.

David Adams (Western Mail)