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THE HARRIS-PARRIS: LEAVING DO | STAGE REVIEW

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Sherman Cymru, Cardiff

Thurs 3 May

★☆

words: GARETH LUDKIN

In search of the bright lights of London town, Anni Harri-Parris is preparing to leave her west Walian home for good. Of course, leaving is never easy, and an impromptu leaving do brings up a whole host of memories that will cast an element of reticence over Anni’s imminent departure.

In an attempt to caricature a rural farming family from west Wales, Mai Oh Mai Productions offer a pleasant comedic caper through the lives of the Harri-Parris family. Comprised of Anni, who still remains hopeful of finding her perfect man in London; Deiniol, the well travelled brother with stories of the world and the postcards to prove it; brother Ifan, the failed lothario with no desire to leave the comfort of his loyal cows or local ladies; and Branek, the family’s adopted Slovakian fool who’s affinity with Welsh culture is growing stronger by the day, each character has their own humorous peculiarities.

Through the vehicle of comedic ditties and short sketches, the audience – who play the unwitting part of leaving do guests – learn everything there is to know about this exaggerated farming family. From their fine collection of country fair rosettes, to penchant for cake, fear of “weekenders”, and their love of Rumours (Haverfordwest’s only club), this rural Welsh family highlight each others’ incompetence, isolation, and ultimate fondness for west Wales. While London has the promise of glamour and adventure, home ultimately maintains its charm for the Harri-Parris.

The humour is light and easy to follow, while the acting remains engaging and entertaining. Perhaps a little over reliant on song, the plot doesn’t offer any particular surprises, but the songs and peculiar stories provide the necessary laughs from a crowd who evidently enjoyed the light-hearted, Welsh-infused humour. At a little over one hour in length, the performance was short, but well measured. The story is playful and enjoyable for both kids (+14) and adults, and for those with some experience of rural Welsh life, The Leaving Do may even prove a distinctly familiar depiction.

The Leaving Do continues at Sherman Cymru until Sat 5 May before touring throughout South Wales.

3-5 May, 8pm

Sherman Cymru, Cardiff

029 2064 6900

www.shermancymru.co.uk

8 May, 7.30pm

The Met, Abertillery

01495 322510

www.the-met.co.uk

9 May, 7.30pm

Theatr Felinfach, Ceredigion

01570 470697

www.theatrfelinfach.com

11 May, 7.30pm

Galeri, Caernarfon

01286 685222

www.galericaernarfon.com

12 May, 7.30pm

Theatr Harlech, Gwynedd

01766 780667

www.theatrharlech.com

14 May, 7.30pm

Theatr Stiwt, Wrexham/Wrecsam

01978 841300

www.stiwt.co.uk

17 May, 7.30pm

Pontardawe Arts Centre

01792 863722

www.pontardaweartscentre.com

18 May, 8pm

Theatr Brycheiniog, Brecon

01874 611622

www.theatrbrycheiniog.co.uk

19 May, 7.30pm

Theatr Soar, Merthyr*

01685 722176

www.theatrsoar.com

* Supported by the Arts Council of Wales ‘Night Out’ scheme

23-24 May, 7.45pm

Torch Theatre, Milford Haven

01646 695267

www.torchtheatre.co.uk

26 May, 7.45pm

The Hafren, Newtown

01686 614555

www.thehafren.co.uk

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