Hi my name is Jemma Llewellyn. I have recently graduated with a PGCE in Post Compulsory Education. I have a keen interest in directing and working within the community. I am part of the 'Young Critic' programme in Bridgend. Here is my review of Love Steals Us from Loneliness.....
How do you write a play about Bridgend? More importantly how do you write a play that is sensitive towards the recent events in Bridgend? Bridgend is a small town that has been in the media spotlight for the high number of teenage suicides since 2007. This is where Gary Owen has set his new play, Love Steals Us From Loneliness, a story about love, loss and isolation. Owen has had first hand experience of growing up as a teenager in Bridgend and the commitment to portraying his real life experience is echoed through out the play.
Becky: Remy Beasley
Bridgend town centre is also a community without a theatre; this left an interesting choice of venues to stage this play. The venue chosen for the play was Hobos, a rock nightclub and is one of the most popular nightspots in Bridgend. The venue immediately creates what the play needs, a bustling environment in a nightclub and brings the audience right into the heart of teenage life.
Catrin and Scott
The play is set on the night of a Halloween party and begins with Scott (Mark Sumner) singing on Karaoke, this is interrupted by Catrin (Katie Elin-Salt) storming out of the club as her boyfriend Lee has upset her. The audience is then taken into the main venue for the continuation of the story. On first glance the set design does not look that impressive, however as the performance progresses you can see how it has been carefully thought out.
The audience is greeted with Catrin taking a pee in a graveyard and Scott chasing after her. The comedic elements in this half are excellent, Katie Elin-Salt and Mark Sumner work well together to keep the audience chuckling at the obscenities as they wait for the queue to go down in the nightclub. In this time Scott declares his love for Catrin. However Catrin is already in love with Lee (who is never seen), Scott’s best friend. The audience leave the first half of the play wondering who Catrin is going to choose. At the interval the Karaoke continues and is used as a clever link back into the second half of the play.
Mags: Nia Roberts
Once the second half begins there is a sudden change of mood that is instantly felt. The audience are met by a grieving mother (Mags) and sister (Becky) played by Remy Beasley. As time unfolds it appears that Lee drove off in his car after an argument with Catrin, she wanted to break up with him. There is suspicion around the death as he had not been drinking or wearing a seat belt, suicide is suspected.
The performance from Mags (Nia Roberts) is transfixing as she re-visits the last few hours of her son being alive. This death haunts the rest of the characters and plays an important part in how they carry on with their lives. The play invites the audience to experience individual moments with these characters and holds on to the emotions of real life, but more significantly how teenagers may deal with loosing someone their own age.
This play is ground breaking with the use of cultural background and language, but also due to its sensitivity to the issues explored and commitment to the community around it.
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