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Whose Coat Is That Jacket
A second outing for this splendid comedy from Frapetsus Productions, the original version of which was staged at the Grand Arts Wing.
Jack Llewellyn's script revolves around that almost indefinable word Hiraeth, best translated as a heartfelt longing for one's homeland, and the various ways in which it affects a Welsh family. Rhodri (played by Llewellyn himself) has married an ambitious English girl called Ruth (Victoria Turton-Blyth) and brings her home to spend time with his family.
The scene is set for a series of revelations, against which is played out a sub-plot about Bleddyn (Tom McLeod), the younger son of the family, and his mate Ieuan (Neil Harris), who are waiting for the exam results that will take them away from home and on to University.
The cast - which also includes Johnny Farrell and Olwen Rees as parents Dai and Angharad, along with Sarah Lisabeth as Ffion - are uniformly excellent and the play licks along at a fair old pace.
Director Clare Friswell has opted for a more naturalistic and authentic setting this time around, and has tackled some of the minor flaws which marred the original production: a lengthy rugby sequence at the start has been judiciously trimmed, and a scene in which the family mimed the act of eating a meal now features real food which one could smell even at the back of the auditorium.
There are some memorable lines ("You only get one home - everywhere else is somewhere to live") and overall this is a very warm and well judged piece of theatre which seeks to sidestep the usual Welsh cliches and instead concentrates upon character and relationship.
"I'll Be There In A Minute Now"
Another exploration of ambition, tradition and Welsh identity
I'll Be There in a Minute Now!
Frapetus Productions , Dylan Thomas Theatre Swansea , May 4, 2009
I'll Be There in a Minute Now! by Frapetus Productions The sequel to Jack Llewellyn's delightful comedy Whose Coat is that Jacket? sees the Williams family reunited for another exploration of ambition, tradition and Welsh identity, and the conflicts than can ensue when one breaks away from one's family.
Three years have elapsed since the first story, and son Bleddyn (Tom McLeod) has moved away from Trimsaran and now lives in London. The changes in the character are conveyed with subtlety and skill, and we also get fine performances from Johnny Farrell (Dai), Olwen Rees (Angharad), Neil Harris (Ieuan), Sarah Lisabeth (Ffion) and Jack Llewellyn reprising his role as Rhodri.
Director Clare Friswell's treatment of the piece is naturalistic - as it has to be given the fact that this is such an accessible and down-to-earth piece - and there are some nice visual nods to the original, particularly during the opening sequence, as well as some inspired one-liners.
Frapetsus Productions was set up to provide a platform for Wales-based playwrights with fresh voices and its early ventures have certainly hit the spot. I do wonder, however, whether the company might benefit from broadening its horizons to explore other themes apart from Wales and Welshness: there is a big world out there, and it would be a shame if this company lapsed into repetition.