Wed 23 May
Words: Rachel Williams
Four friends gather at an old Cardiff haunt but they no longer quite fit together – life and choices have taken them in different directions, and those choices colour their views of the others. As this night unfolds anything is possible. In fact, “Laughter, betrayal and blood” is not the slightest bit metaphorical in describing The Get Together, as past mistakes are dragged into the open, knitting needles are brandished and laughter flows with easy grace as memories are shared and alcohol loosens opinionated tongues.
Part of Sherman Cymru’s RAW initiative, the piece was produced under the more thrills than frills style where the writing and talent take centre stage. Written by Corrie writer Simon Crowther, crammed full of pathos and moments of cathartic humour the narrative is strong and the comic one liner’s are honed to perfection. True to its roots of the ‘local’ pub the language is colourful, heated and utterly straightforward. With some brilliantly talented Cardiff voices on stage, the scene is set. Descriptions of the area put you in mind of the Vulcan, a historic Cardiff pub that struggled with the threat of closure before it finally closed its doors earlier this month. With aged wooden chairs as seating, the audience are there with the cast as the purveyors of gossip and drinking. The set itself is a solitary table and multiple chairs with ancient Christmas decorations still up weeks after and the well-used Juke box – a testament to the RAW ideal.
Having got into trouble over a monkey, oops sorry: baboon, the local celebrity is Phil (Gareth Pierce): an outsider to this group of friends, he is the storyteller quoting lines from Jaws (on TV in the ‘other’ room), launching into song as the juke box clunks into life and causing havoc as his antics madden Bull (Roger Evans) to the point of confrontation – resulting in disaster as Phil stabs himself with the knitting needle and panic as Anna (Mali Harries), eight months pregnant goes into labour. Landlady Carol (Ri Richards) keeps the drinks coming, acts as peacekeeper and it is Carol who tells them about Phil’s trouble at Longleat.
Clarkey (Huw Rhys) is the ‘Peter Pan’ of the group, living what he can of the high life and ignoring responsibilities and Mari (Nia Roberts) is the kept woman with a London life, far removed from her Cardiff past. Together they reminisce and mull over mistakes but it is Phil’s cracked window that belies their privacy, allowing Bull and Anna to hear every word. Regret’s, jealousy, accusations and admissions of failure ensue: to Mari, Anna has done nothing with her life but “spit out children”; to Anna, Mari is talentless and a useless godmother and the full extent of their failed friendships comes to light.
A paired-back comedy that shines a light in the darkest corners of an apparently innocent reunion where fakery for the sake of saving face is abandoned in favour of dramatics and truth. It is definitely one to see.
Continues at Sherman Cymru until 26TH May
Info: www.shermancymru.co.uk / 02920 646900