Poems and reflective narrative from Wilfred Owen. His penetrating reactions to World War 1. Mathew David as the young poet/soldier takes us not only on to the fields of battle but also with Gwynne Edwards’ carefully chosen words we hear his letter home to his mother, his time as President of the Mess with the key of the whisky store whilst training with horses in Abbeyville. We hear of the camaraderie of the men recovering in the field hospitals, of his meeting with Siegfried Sassoon, H G Wells and Robert Ross, friend of Oscar Wilde. We hear of the Welsh connections of the Shrewsbury born hero.
Chapter, Cardiff, Tues 4 Mar 2014, 8pm, £4
The Dylan Thomas Centre, Swansea, Wed 5 Mar 2014, 7.30pm, £4
A sparkling comedy set on the night of the Scottish Independence Referendum investigates if a ‘yes’ vote would constitute crisis or celebration for Wales.
Basing a comedy on an event as taut with tension as the Scottish Independence Referendum is a daring move. After all, north of the border there are few laughs to be had as the clash between Alex Salmond’s ‘yes’ campaign and the ‘no’ campaign, nominally headed by Alastair Darling, looms ever closer.
But in this confident and intelligent comedy from Sara Hawys and Leon Russell, there is plenty to giggle at.
Dafydd and Elsabeth Puw were Welsh – the former a diehard Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg defender in his youth, the latter a determined social climber.
David Kennet was a wealthy Englishman, while wife Morag was Scottish – and their son dated the Puws’ daughter.
The foursome came together on September 18, ostensibly the night when Scotland’s future could change forever.
But the clashes between them concerning nationhood and neighbourliness created a stink which even the burning haggis dinner couldn’t cover up.
Although the referendum was a hook to hang the play on, there was a distinct lack of cohesion to that point.
However, the fiery reactions of the Cymraeg and the Saes were enough to exhibit the dogmatism inherent on many sides of the same borders.
The appearance in particular of the character of confirmed nationalist Leanne – girlfriend of the Puws’ son – highlighted the gulf between Dafydd’s youthful commitment to the cause and his drift from it into middle-aged complacency.
As Dafydd, Nathan Sussex was a man drawn in opposing directions, giving a heartfelt reaction to Louisa Marie Lorey’s agitating Leanne which could be nostalgia or something more.
Bethan Morgan’s Elsabeth formed the central glue, but John Cording’s blustering David made a strong second. Rebecca Knowles was the sheepish Scottish wife with little interest in the referendum back home.
The plot dealt in broad strokes, and perhaps missed laughs on occasion in favour of making points, but it zipped along nicely and left the audience in no doubt at all that when it comes to an event as pressurised as this, sometimes the only thing you can do is laugh.