Cardiff Open Air Theatre Festival opened in style with Sondheim’s classic Into the Woods on Thursday night. It is a visually spectacular production which makes brilliant use of the fittingly wood-filled backdrop. And the large and impressive cast taking on one of musical theatre’s most challenging scores.
Continuing the outdoor theatre theme from the last post, it’s time for Taking Flight theatre’s annual outdoor Shakespeare production. Starting in the lovely Thompson’s Park in Cardiff and going on to some of Wales’ most beautiful parks and castle grounds (oh and even one in Bristol this year!) the annual Taking Flight Shakespeare tour would be a delight simply for the backdrop, but there’s much, much more magic involved.
It’s that time of year again….Cardiff’s Open Air Theatre Festival! Now granted the last week’s weather hasn’t been exactly summery here (it is Wales after all) but never fear because once again the audience will be completely undercover. So now that you’ve cheered Wales on in the Euros out in the open (ouch, sorry about that sporting folks, or indeed rejoice! if you’re English) it’s time instead to take in some theatre in the air.
Let’s get one thing out of the way: the play is aptly named. Coming in at around 3 hours 25 minutes it’s a classic marathon of a play. And actually I loved it for that. I’m all for a short play. The phrase ’90 minutes straight through’ often fills me with delight. Years as an usher have conditioned me to dance with joy at a 2 hour piece. However there is something to be said for remembering the art of the long play-and the joy as an audience member this can bring. It was really enjoyable actually to sit and be swallowed into that world for over 3 hours yesterday. To be forced to have the patience to wait for the story to unravel.
Only the Brave is a landmark production for Wales Millennium Centre. For the past 10 years, it has been a leading touring venue, as well as providing a home for smaller local companies to create work in it’s smaller spaces. However, it has yet to originate new work on the main stage…until now. In this co-production with the Soho Theatre, Daniel Sparrow Productions and Birdsong Productions, Only the Brave is a brand-new British musical theatre production.
I may be a disgrace to my people, I know nothing about Tom Jones. Despite having worked in Pontypridd for a year and living two doors down from a Tom Jones impersonator, what I know about Tom Jones is well, limited. In that sense it was great to hear some of the ‘real’ story behind the man, the trousers and the hair.
Footloose is the best 80s dance film. Better than Dirty Dancing. There. I’ve said it. I stand by it. I love an 80s dance film in general (except Dirty Dancing, I really hate that film) but Footloose is unashamedly my favourite. Added to that an early 00’s pop favourite in Gareth Gates and Footloose is the making of an excellent, entertaining night out.
There is something to be said for some good old fashioned storytelling in theatre. The kind that sits an audience and does simply that; tells a story. While I love theatre that plays with form, stylistic theatre and sometimes even big flashy theatre, I think we sometimes forget that what we’re after is a story. And Conor McPherson’s St Nicholas gives us exactly that, in a deceptively simple manner.