On Friday, we went to the New Theatre. Following good reviews in the South Wales Echo, as well as The Times and The Guardian, we were keen to see “The Devil Inside Him”, a play John Osborne wrote when still a teenager. It bore all the hallmarks of the ‘angry young man’ tag that was later attached to Osborne. An interesting evening, well produced and acted by the recently formed National Theatre Wales. Don’t be put off by their arty but almost unusable web site, their performance was much more accessible and we look forward to seeing their next work in this part of Wales.
The following night, we were in Chapter’s smaller and more intimate theatre to see Mark Jenkins’ play “Strindberg knew my Father”, performed by the ever-reliable Everyman Theatre Cardiff. The dialogue sparkled, the erotic scenes had a real charge and there was even an illusion to enjoy.
Part farce, part an examination of class and gender conflicts, this was a really enjoyable show and well worth the £8 ticket price. We finished the evening with friends in the lively Chapter bar, where we enjoyed a couple of excellent pints from Cardiff’s own Bullmastiff brewery.
Many people never go to the theatre to see a play. A musical, perhaps, but not a work of drama.
In some cases, they tried it once and didn’t enjoy the experience. Perhaps they have some vague memories of a school trip to see a poorly performed set text. People who wouldn’t let one poor film stop them from going again to the cinema, ignore theatre for a similar reason. Others see it as a middle class activity, which isn’t for them or feel it will be inferior to films, TV and computer games.
It’s a shame, because we get some really good theatre in the Welsh capital. Check out the programmes at Chapter, the Sherman, the New Theatre and other venues and give it a try! Or have a look at the Everyman Summer Festival at the museum in St Fagans in July, – the actors are in the open air, you’re under cover. Last year, a torrential thunderstorm gave added realism to the storm scene in a memorable King Lear. With Shakespeare, Gilbert and Sullivan and a family performance every year, there really is something for everyone. Or perhaps that should be ‘something for everyman’.