“The Urdd Youth Theatre Company presented its production of S’neb yn Becso Dam (No-one Gives a Damn) at Sherman Cymru and provided a real breath of fresh air for theatregoers.
In a change from tradition, what really made this a truly great performance was that the entire company was led by youngsters – from the band to the technicians, the backstage crew to costume and design. Yes they were guided by professionals in their different fields but the Urdd Youth Theatre Company members really did put their own stamp on this coming of age production.
Music Director Rhys Taylor’s quirky and engaging arrangement of the songs made famous by Welsh band Edward H Dafis gave a modern twist to the tale. Ironically, Taylor had to start from scratch whilst putting together the musical numbers as the iconic 1970s band never wrote any of their music down on paper – and the Aberystwyth-born MD pulled it off effortlessly.
The production wasted no time in setting the scene. The main character – Lisa Pant Ddu – longed for more from her young life. Frustrated with life at home in rural Wales, she longed for the buzz and excitement of city life.
The opening number ‘Y Penderfyniad’ (The Decision) was fast paced and energetic with a claustrophobic Lisa bidding farewell to her friends and family.
From there we’d follow Lisa’s journey ‘Ar y Ffordd’ (On the Way) to the city and the instant euphoria of freedom and independence that came with living away from the parents.
But things would soon change for the story’s heroine. Her phone had been stolen. She had no way of contacting her friends. As Lisa found herself a lonely existence in a big and busy city, she was quickly shunted by the city slickers around her and forced to befriend a group of homeless people.
Without her phone or a place to stay, it wasn’t long before she was influenced by the villain, Y Siwt, and led to the dark and murky world of drugs and prostitution.
Lisa’s slippery slope was chronicled in ‘Brenin Cyffur’ and ‘Duwies y Palmant’ before she found the strength, along with a group of women subjected to life in the same dark world, to fight back against the evil ‘Siwt’.
As with all musicals, it is somewhat satisfying seeing the baddie get his comeuppance. In this case, ‘Y Siwt’ was removed from power making way for a happy and satisfying finale with the cast leading the audience with Yr Hen Ffordd Gymreig o Fyw (The Old Welsh Way of Life) – and some traditional folk dancing added in for good measure.
Mari Rhian Owen’s moving and at times thought-provoking script successfully managed to combine the hard- hitting issues of the story with the perfect blend of humour. The audience often laughing at a number of one- liners and comical scenarios – most notably those made by Lisa’s grandmother about her own wild past!
A truly enjoyable evening.”