You may wonder how the advertised raffle, clairvoyant and ‘orgy of blood’ would come together in National Theatre Wales’s first musical. I must say I was apprehensive to see how these seemingly haphazard activities would complement each other harmoniously.
But harmony is what I got. Every cast member sung with such preciseness, yet succeeded in preserving a roughness in the finished product. This complimented the performance of ostensibly innocent, ‘normal’ residents of Cae Bach and also the mayhem of the second half of the show.
Not coming from a village myself, the feel of the production before the chaos ensued could only be described as that at a small eisteddfod. Knowing Dafydd James’ (Musical Director and the shows’ Co-creator along with Ben Lewis) and most of the cast’s prime position in Welsh language culture, I felt as if I was at a noson lawen at times. This all helped to make The Village Social a truly Welsh experience: something I didn’t feel at other NTW productions.
One of the questions posed in the questionnaire, which was handed out before the performance, was to describe community events in three words. My two were ‘nostalgic’ and ‘educational’ (I struggled with a third). Nostalgic because community events can be so rare that this event can make you dreamily look back at the last, which could be as long as ten or more years ago for some people. This is why NTW15 stands out as a little gem; a wicked dream that you don’t want to forget because it was such an enjoyable evening. A chance for small communities to laugh and share the secrets and horrors of Cae Bach: a community, on the surface, similar to theirs.
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