This is a collection of ten brand new ten-minute plays are split into two shows – Truth and Dare.
We see Dare first, where every short play entertains and has something to recommend it. Barbie Butt has some strong performances and a brave subject matter, but I felt it didn’t quite land overall. Show Us is an immersive experience which sweeps you up and has some funny performances. However, the attempts to break the fourth wall with some of the characters letting us in to the stage directions, call sheets and script information, while interesting, doesn’t quite come off.
This Time Next Week is really touching, poignant and well-acted. Annwyn (Mold Gold) is a masterpiece – very clever and funny and managing to encapsulate so many resonant elements including tensions between Welsh and English and between past and present. And The Crowd Goes Boom features a female, Welsh, Ant and Dec only not so successful. But by the end they find a purpose and confidence in this uplifting play.
Truth brings together five very different plays but each with a, sometimes uncomfortable, truth at its heart to unpick and confront. One Stop Short is a trial on a train, a courtroom drama centering on a family question. The Wake sees two sisters negotiate their inheritance and confront some home truths, with sterling performances by Lisa Jên Brown and Mirain Haf Roberts. A lot hinges on a letter from their late mother and the drama ends with a reluctant, humorous and brilliant rendition of Migldi Maglidi.
Maternity Leave looks at some big themes around patriarchy, motherhood and society and ends with some spectacular choreography – a real showstopper. Betsan Llwyd and Lisa Jên Brown are excellent in Bwgan, which I can’t say too much about without spoiling except that it’s a beauty of a play. Two Parts Madness, One Part Mayhem is as the title suggests a riotous production. A camp murder mystery with the skilful wordplay we expect from panto writer Christian Patterson and hilarious performances from Francois Pandolfo and Seren Vickers. A surreal and spectacular ending sees a straight-faced crooner played by Gabin Kongolo in the spotlight amid the chaos.
Each play has a prop supplied by the audience, which is incorporated into the script to sometimes bonkers and always amusing effect. These included an arm with a pointing finger, a fake poo, a giraffe head, a soft toy, a door handle and some good old loo roll. I gather also that the actors are given different prompts, making each performance of each play totally unique.
The cast are all hugely talented, I personally particularly enjoyed previously mentioned Seren Vickers, as well as Geraint Rhys Edwards, Caitlin Drake and Laura Dalgliesh.
I love Theatr Clwyd’s innovative approach in recent years and especially how effortless they make it to be inclusive of the Welsh language, which Welsh speakers like me really appreciate. There are frequent BSL and audio described performances too. I hope audiences agree that this really adds to productions.
Truth and Dare provide a thoughtful, daring, truthful and fun night’s entertainment – well done again to the Theatr Clwyd team.
Audiences can book to see one or both plays on the same or different nights, with frequent performances until May 13.