Critical Chinwag is a new review & social night by me (Hi, I’m Bud by the way!) and NTW TEAM. 

Members: 108
Latest Activity: Jan 19, 2017


Critical Chinwag is an an opportunity to see a variety of different performances. It allows for bigger theatre discussion across Wales on the NTW pages and encourage more theatre chin-wagging. Reviewing a show on your own can be scary so through having a chat in a group you can have more confidence and freedom to say what you want.

Simply, Critical Chinwag is a way for you to see different performances, discuss theatre and meet new and interesting people! 

When you come to a Critical Chinwag night you will receive...

- A free ticket for the selected show

- A post-show bevvy (wine, beer, sangria, squash...)

- A chance to discuss theatre and meet new people

In return we ask for you to...

- As a group, give your honest opinions of the show.

- Tweet and blog your thoughts on here and Twitter

- Have a good chin-wag and enjoy your night!

To be involved...

You must be a member of NTW TEAM to come to a Critical Chinwag night - If you are not a member, you can find more info about TEAM and become a member here 

We offer a small amount of tickets for each show, so if you are not successful the first time fear not! It’s nothing personal, just keep on trying! And all you need to do is send me an e-mail by the deadline specified for each night. 

Details of each events will be updated on here so keep your eyes peeled! And if you want to find out more feel free to e-mail me on

Discussion Forum

My Body Welsh - Critical Chinwag @Galeri Caernarfon 26.1.17

(Originally posted on Rachel Risen's blog pages on January 19th 2017)Would you like the chance to see a piece of current theatre for free and join a group of us in the bar afterwards for a chat about…Continue

Started by rachel rosen Jan 19, 2017.

Light Waves Dark Skies

Here's my review of We Made This' Light Waves Dark Skies:…Continue

Started by Tom Wentworth Dec 7, 2016.

Can Yr Adar/ Birdsong, Theatr Mwldan

I was curious to see this performance, and a little unconvinced that it would work. A bilingual fusion of soul folk and jazz to tell the tale of a Welsh rainforest (is there such a thing?) seemed a…Continue

Tags: Welsh, bilingual, Crawford, Meriel, Kizzy

Started by Rozanna Niazi Nov 7, 2016.


Hello! It's that time again... Yes, it's Critical Chinwag! So do come and join me for TEAM's always popular social and review event.This time I'm very excited to be hosting the Critical Chinwag for…Continue

Started by Tom Wentworth Nov 5, 2016.


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Comment by rachel rosen on January 16, 2017 at 3:19
Hi folks, I have taken part in a number of critical chinwag a and blogged about them, but silly me didn't cross-post them to here!
So if you're interested, here are some links (or find my whole blog)
Feel free to send me feedback on these posts and watch this space for more!
December 2016
October 2015
March 2015
Comment by Isabelle Paige on November 5, 2016 at 7:33

I had a look in on final rehearsals for Golf Course War Machine earlier today.
The piece has really caught something of the zeitgeist. It explores the humanity behind the political rebel (brexiteers included). I wrote a blog about it here:

Comment by Ben Tinniswood on April 11, 2016 at 2:57

Here's Nonn Vaughan's thoughts on "Tonight I'm going to be the new me"

A play about a relationship – but not just any old relationship, this one was about a real life relationship between the actor on stage and the writer sitting in the directing box behind us. 

A talented performer, Jess held the stage. Whether she was gyrating endlessly (a tour de force in itself, but telling us, what?) or trying to persuade the audience to respond with the answers she needed to fuel the on-going bicker with her partner.  I wonder how she would have used real answers from the audience?  Now, that would have been exciing watching.

 Most of us in the audience recognised the soul sapping reproaches –‘why do you always ….’  which lie voiced, or silent  in any relationship.  But then we remember that this is an actual, living relationship, and presume that if it is to survive, then we will not hear the bitter accusations and sarcastic responses which make plays like Cat on a Hot Tin Roof vivid and uncomfortably mesmerising.  To ‘pierce the bloody heart of our obsession with outlasting hardship’ as described in the play’s  programme notes, we needed to see obsession and hardship. What we saw instead was fairly run of the mill squabbling.

This is a mild, unchallenging play, lacking in tension, despite raising the very real issues of women feeling confined and restricted.  (represented here by the action taking place in a box structure). Tim, as he hovered clutching the beer she had demanded, seemed no great threat.  Would it have been improved if he had watched from the wings as we were promised?  We might have felt something like threat or menace from the observing man.     I could not imagine Jess’s sense of self being dented; she would choose whether or not to remain in the relationship and push the partnership onward until she chose to stop.

Nonn Vaughan

Comment by Ben Tinniswood on April 9, 2016 at 22:58

Hi all,

Here is Mary Brooke's thoughts on "Tonight I'm going to be the new me"

Tonight I’m Gonna Be The New Me

In attempting to tell the story of her relationship with Tim, Jess engages in a fifteen minute long convulsive dance of endurance before addressing the audience. I found the dance puzzling and uncomfortable to watch; probably a mood setter for what was to come.

A potentially edgy monologue follows and when a question is suddenly directed at a member of the audience a collective unease is felt, no one wishes to be pin pointed. Eventually we realize that Jess is controlling the responses as she tells the audience what to reply. Tim ends the monologue as we hear his voice from afar breaking in rather sulkily into the conversation and contradicting Jess. The argument builds and we begin to see that the two have reached that stage in a relationship where every little thing annoys the other. The banter is well executed and the insults fly between the two as it reaches a climax; these are obviously recognisable moments for some in the audience as a ripple of laughter breaks out.

The action itself takes place inside a boxlike structure. This gives the audience the feeling that Jess is trapped within; much like the audience is trapped watching the play. Throughout, Jess is careful not to overstep the perimeters of the box while Tim is free to come and go. He brings Jess a drink and then leaves, almost flaunting his freedom.

I was left with the thoughts that these had been two young people working through the difficulties of being in a relationship having to sort through a whole load of issues. Nothing new in this and a journey for every couple to make. The piece ends with another dance in which Jess spins until she can do so no longer. It was accomplished yet painful to watch.

Mary B

Comment by Ben Tinniswood on April 8, 2016 at 23:11

Here's my response to Made in China's "Tonight I'm going to be the new me"


Comment by Jac Ifan Moore on April 8, 2016 at 23:06

Tonight I'm Gonna Be The New BLOG 

Comment by Ben Tinniswood on March 23, 2016 at 4:31

Hola TEAMsters,

It’s time to get those Cardiff Chins Critically wagging again!

We’ll be watching “Tonight I’m going to be the new me”  by the ever excellent  Made in China & brought to Cardiff by the equally fantastic Theatr Iolo.

We’ll be going to the performance at 8pm on Friday 8th April at Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff.

I’m really pleased to be hosting this Chinwag. Made in China are such a bold, fearless & exciting collective & their work & collaborators never cease to challenge our expectations of performance.

“A woman takes to the stage. A man watches from the wings. They both wonder if their love will survive what’s about to happen.

Tonight I’m Gonna Be The New Me is an arresting physical endurance act that crashes headfirst into an impossibly true love story - and out the other side. It exposes how we perform our relationships amidst a reality that just won’t live up to what the movies promised.

Disarmingly honest and comically imagined, Tonight I’m Gonna Be The New Me pierces the bloody heart of our obsession with outlasting hardship. Intimate and startlingly immediate, it defies you to watch, in spite of yourself.”

There’s more info on the creative team etc here:

In return for a FREE ticket and a post show drink, Critical Chinwag participants agree to meet in the Chapter bar after the performance and have an informal chinwag about the production. After that we ask that you tweet and/or blog about the experience and continue the discussion here on the NTW Community website page no later than two days after the performance. Always good to get your thoughts down while they’re fresh, I find.  I’m sure everyone will be good for that!

You need to be an ntwTEAM member to apply for a ticket, so if you haven’t already done so set up a profile on NTW Community here: and to book a seat. We only have a small number of tickets for this show so it’s first-come, first-served. The deadline is Monday 4th April.

If you’ve been to a Critical Chinwag recently, perhaps you’d like to encourage a friend or two who haven’t been along before to apply for tickets? It’s relaxed, informal & a great way to see some theatre for FREE!

I look forward to meeting some new faces on 8th


Comment by Stephen Donnelly on March 15, 2016 at 5:06

Let’s talk about death, baby… (a few bits and pieces to watch/listen to if you’re into it…)

Penn & Teller, Death INC

Penn and Teller face their fears to deal with the subject of the impending demise that awaits us all - and the efforts of a highly profitable industry of death to profit from it.

A panel of speakers debate whether it might be a good thing to make an awareness of death a more important part of our lives.

...would you?

Comment by Stephen Donnelly on March 15, 2016 at 5:05

I knew going into COSY about the themes in the play and was, perversely, looking forward to it. It’s a topic I’ve been thinking and talking about a lot lately...


I’ve been spending time trying to remember what the show was about, other than the feeling of traveling closer towards one’s own death… I remember the personal frustrations and interpersonal tensions you’d expect to accompany a family get together,  daughters re-dressing the walls before the mother had even taken to her bed, providing a backdrop to the fact that, despite the emending dramatic change there was the desire to try and keep things as normal and forward moving as possible, to continue in spite of it all.  I wanted to hear more from the mother character, her closing speech seemed to be the bottle necked onto the end when she had spent the majority of the play tossing around types of methods of dispatch with the youngest family member quite merrily. Her final thoughts seemed to explode but I was glad that it happened, it was hugely resonating and impactful. It left me reeling a bit to be honest, speechless after the show, thinking of the quiet ways I’d seen relatives die and made me wonder what was going on behind the comforting smiles. It made me think of my grandad too who, after being admitted to hospital complained “they won’t let me smoke” and asked “I won’t leave here, will I?”. He didn’t, and we knew he wouldn’t, but we weren't equipped with the language.


Perhaps this shift  between outward bravery and stoicism and the private terror of those last few days could have been strung though the play more - the musical interludes / chair dance sequences could have been utilised for this as it already weaved a darker underlying mood throughout the piece.


A lot of research was presented well - the fact the most money spent on you is the pent the most on NHS softening the pain is food for thought; wouldn’t nipping off early be less shellfish? and the idea of your body being the only object you ever own,  the choice over your death being a final life defining act are beautiful ideas to bring to people, if we could journey deeper into them it would be amazing. I think the first half took a while to warm up, whether this was first night or script I don’t know, but opened up to get into the topics more guts later on.

A great epic frightening idea treated with great respect, a lot of research that was presented well perhaps but a bit tip-toeing around the taboo at times. The measure for me is if the play sticks around afterwards and follows me about, finding nooks and crannies in everyday life to rear it’s head; lines and ideas in COSY has for me.

Comment by Kelly Jones on March 14, 2016 at 22:56

Hey Ben - I have similar feelings am still slightly unsure about the play.

The writing is undeniably incredible! And Kaite has a phenomenal way with words. In particular Ri's monologue about the dead stars was particularly captivating. I did find at times the dialogue didn't quite feel natural in the actors mouths and for me this created a disconnect. 

Sara Beer gets a special mention from me, her attention to the detail of the writing made her the strongest for me. Sara took note of every comma, semicolon and full stop. She really read the scripts rhythm. 

As Ben said 'The performances are universally strong' and they were. Sara and Ri really stood out for me, it was partly due to the belief in what they were saying and Sara's comedy provided relief from the darker moments.

Ben , I agree about the western, i felt so far away from the action that i couldn't quite connect with what was happening on stage. The subject of ending ones own life, is an interesting topic. Having not read anything about the show before, when i realised that this was what it was about i instantly felt uncomfortable. This was no fault of Cosy but more a personal issue and experience of people you love choosing to end their own life. However the discomfort was eased with the honesty and beauty of the words. I think the subject was handled with care, rationale and compassion.  The things i didn't enjoy about COSY was venue and i think first night nerves, I would like to have seen it again during its run to make my mind up. 


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