Written by Australian born D. J. Britton, this play is a partly fabricated close up of Welsh Prime Minister David Lloyd George. It is 1938, on the cusp of another World War and George is on the Mediterranean coast. It’s his 50th wedding anniversary, though he’s more interested in the French ladies that frequent the resort. He waits for one particular woman, in Beckett like anticipation, leading to unfortunate consequences.
Here in this play, one of the most written about men of the 20th century gets to wax lyrical, as we the sea are his attentive audience, who he speaks to us in great poetic gestures of the imagination. He recounts “The Great War”, his children (with one tragic early death), the courtship of his wife, the amount of progress he made as politician and his telling perspective on life in general. Although he was a man of contradictions, he had only met Hitler a few years prior in a peaceful act, we feel for him here. Within this opening image of an old curmudgeon draped in a Union flag (a gift from Provence silk makers), this proud Welshman would have preferred a certain flag with a dragon, a relatable feeling on the frustrations of Welsh identity against the British. The love of women is what seems to be his drive, as he tells us stories, both funny and sad of the ladies in his life. We love him but he feels like a tragic figure who could never really maintain a stable and meaningful relationship, his marriage itself being a rocky journey in faithfulness.
Richard Elfyn is a resounding George. The flyer for the show brilliantly has his face split with half of George, with little difference in their features. On stage we debate if he is wearing a wig (he liked longish hair, leading to the nickname given to him as “The Goat”). There is a cheeky vitality in the role here and Elfyn could most likely do this piece in his sleep. It’s a role that would seem to have been made for him in more than one way. One person shows can we quite demanding in attention, yet he makes such a good job of the part are we are attentive until the end. At just over an hour in length, it was hard to believe as it simply flew by.
This show made for great theatre and won me over with it accessibility and charm.