Wednesday, April 21, 2010

" Helen,Wendy And A Beauty Queen From Leenane"

One could be forgiven for thinking I'm paid to advertise Theatr Clwyd ( ) as I've had so many visits lately.

This is a super all-purpose theatre, built on the edge of Mold, a small market town on the borders of Wales/England.
Many folk in my small city wish ( fervently) that THEY had something similar , something so special... BUT that's another story...

Theatr C is a great place to catch films you missed when first released. It's actually worth waiting.....
At Theatr C, you can wallow in comfy seats amid a ( generally) peaceable audience. You can also have a drink in a bar overlooking Welsh hills ( and plenty of sky)....and/or eat in a reasonably priced cafe..
Recently, we caught "The Last Station", an enthralling film about Leo Tolstoy's final days.
The cast was strong: particularly ( gorgeous) James McAvoy as Tolstoy's secretary, Valentin, and, of course, Helen Mirren ( as always, making hope spring eternal for any older woman...) playing Sofya Tolstoy.
Christopher Plummer was an anguished Tolstoy...increasingly unsettled, increasingly religious...troubled by his conflict betwixt burgeoning thoughts for the plights of humanity...fighting perilously with his wife's delight in more earthly joys.
Superb settings too ( which I'd like to view again) and good direction from Michael Hoffman.

AND THEN a production by London Classic Theatre, celebrating 10 years as a touring company.

The play, by Martin McDonagh ( enticingly titled: " The Beauty Queen of Leenane") told the tale of sad repressed folk in working class Ireland.
It's actually a kind of middle aged love story....and hidden amidst the gloom, there are moving moments and even rather gripping desparate ones. Not a play to watch for its cheer ( OK, some humour, some sparks) ...and I can't help but feel much of it was predictable... However, Paddy Glynn gave a fine portrayal of elderly mother Mag....
And Paddy's saucy wink as she returned on stage after a problem with the lighting, is definitely worth a mention too!

Last but not least at Theatr C was Wendy Cope's visit.
She entertained a full house with a Saturday afternoon of her poetry... plus the chance to sup tea and chat and scoff cake too...
And I enjoyed hearing Wendy The Woman as much as Wendy The her 2nd half, she talked with her audience and answered numerous juicy questions....revealing herself as a highly approachable, highly intelligent, gifted lady.
We both empathised and enjoyed. Hopefully, she'll come this direction again.