Tag Archives: Claire Cage

Downtown Paradise by Mark Jenkins

Performances

Chapter, Cardiff, Tues 29 May 2012, 8pm, £4 on the door

The Riverfront, Newport, Thurs 31 May 2012, 7.45pm, £4

The Dylan Thomas Centre, Swansea, Friday 1st  2012, 7.30pm, £4

 

Cast

Rachel Bloom – Claire Cage

James Wilson – Sule Rimi

Director

Michael Kelligan

 

Review

The latest in the Welsh  Fargo Stage Company’s “On The Edge” series of play-readings (at Chapter, Cardiff) was a presentation of Mark Jenkins’ “Downtown Paradise”, an account of a collision between black and white radicalism in 1970s America, first produced by the author himself in the 1990s. From the outset, it is made clear that the story of Jewish lawyer Rachel’s attempt to secure the release from prison of the articulate and politically engaged Wilson will have an unfortunate conclusion; but the journey is a fascinating, engaging, and, on occasion, darkly humorous one. Sule Rimi is remarkably charismatic as the radical and defiantly imperfect jailbird, Claire Cage all tough tenderness as the cynically idealistic heroine, the writing is slick and convincing (at least to my non-American ears), and director Michael Kelligan keeps things flowing with great deftness for the most part (although I felt that the violent climax could have been handled more subtly). This is absorbing political theatre of a kind which seems, in the post 9/11 age, to be growing rarer – the kind which asks questions of the audience rather than simplistically demanding its agreement. Cage

Othniel Smith (blakeson.blogspot.co.uk)

 


Night Must Fall by Emlyn Williams

Performances

Chapter, Cardiff Tues 15 February 2011, 8pm – £4 on the door

The Dylan Thomas Centre, Swansea Wed 16 February 2011, 7:30pm – £4

Cast

Lord Chief Justice – Hugh Thomas

Mrs Bramson – Judith Haley

Olivia Grayne – Claire Cage

Hubert Laurie – Robert Harper

Mrs Terence – Clêr Stephens

Dora Parkoe – Lizzie Rogan

Inspector Belzie – Johnny Tudor

Danny – Jay Worley

Director

Hugh Thomas

Review

THE success of Michael Kelligan’s script-held readings was encapsulated in one crucial scene from the opening play in his latest On the Edge series. There are no props beyond a wheelchair and a few desks and chairs, yet we all strained our necks to look at the luggage that the cast were opening – even though we consciously knew they were completely improvising, there was no luggage there. Such is the acting talent, the richness of characterisation and the slick delivery of mounting tension that you quite forget you are not watching a costumed, staged drama.

It is also the strength of Emlyn Williams’ writing that you are instantly absorbed into the lives of these characters and gasp to know what will unfold. This thriller is a psychoanalyst and also film maker’s dream (providing Robert Montgomery with an Oscar nomination and a dodgy accent). As the play opens with a judge (played by Hugh Thomas) summing up the murder trial it is no whodunit element to this tale. Rather it is why. Set in a remote cottage in the rich and controlling old Mrs Bramson (Judith Haley) assisted by her penniless, single niece Olivia Grayne (Clare Cage). Hubert Laurie (Robert Harper) is Olivia’s suitor and the wonderfully acted domestics; down to earth housekeeper Mrs. Terrence (Clêr Stephens), and the ditzy pregnant maid Dora Parkoe (Lizzie Rogan) even the ubiquitous police inspector Belsize (Johnny Tudor). Then we have dashing Dan, played by Jay Worley.

Haley plays Mrs Bramson as more nastily lonely than cruelly tyrannical so it makes sense that the fabulous housekeeper is more than her equal as a sparring partner yet is bitter enough to make her niece’s life a misery. Robert Harper oozes experience and effortless character playing.  Jay Worley’s Dan is chirpy, happy chappy but with always a little menace in there. His psychosis slowly unravels as the play develops as he smarms his way into Mrs Bramson’s affections, manipulates Olivia but ultimately self-destructs when his belief that he is incapable of being found out proves false. He does the watching, as he tells us. He gives a performance well beyond his years even if his delivery is at times rushed and he has the looks for the role. Yet, he is already able to use them to look creepy as well as alluring.

Mike Smith

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Photographs by  Claire Cousin

Talking To Wordsworth by Gillian Clarke + Wishful Thinking by Hijinx Theatre

Performances

Chapter, Cardiff Tues 14 Sept 8pm – IN THE THEATRE – £4 on the door

The Dylan Thomas Centre, Swansea Wed 15 Sept 7.30pm – £3

Park and Dare, Treorchy Fri 17 Sept  7.30pm – £3

Cast for Wishful Thinking

Michelle – Adrienne O’Sullivan

Barbara – Nickie Rainsford

Rachel – Claire Cage

Cast for Talking to Wordsworth

Nurse Evans – Adrienne O’Sullivan

Lil – Lynn Hunter

Arthur – Richard Berry

Poet – Claire Cage

Director

Gilly Adams

Review

“Talking To Wordsworth”

The latest “On The Edge” presentation at Cardiff’s Chapter, was a double-bill of rehearsed readings of short plays with a vague mental health theme, directed by Gilly Adams. First up was a revival of one of Hijinx’s “learning difficulties” plays, “Wishful Thinking”, a devised piece with music. It tells the story of three sisters (excellently played by Claire Cage, Adrienne O’Sullivan and Nicki Rainsford), one of whom is a carer for the youngest, while the other has “escaped” – her long overdue return disrupting the family routine. Very poignant, with a beautiful music score, but a more developed narrative might have enhanced its resonance. Heartstrings were also tugged in “Talking To Wordsworth”, National Poet of Wales Gillian Clarke’s play which was first performed as a joint Sherman Theatre/BBC Radio Wales production in 1997. Cage starred as the trying-very-hard-not-to-be-patronising poet visiting a hospital for the elderly mentally ill, with O’Sullivan as the hard but caring nurse, Lynn Hunter as the ward busybody, Rainsford and producer Michael Kelligan providing background colour, and Richard Berry as the elective mute who is slowly drawn out by the magic of words. Very effective, if inevitably slightly sentimentalised. Another satisfying evening’s entertainment.
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