Llwyth (Tribe)

THEATRE
Llwyth (Tribe)
St. George’s West (Venue 157)
4 stars ****

IT’S MESSY, it’s wordy, it’s over the top and sometimes all over the place; but still, there’s no resisting the indiscreet charm of this latest show from Sherman Cymru of Wales, which creates a mighty car crash between traditional Welsh culture – the Eisteddfods, the song, the language – and the world of a bunch of gay men, aged between 15 and 50, on a night out in Cardiff. Written in a fabulous mixture of English, Welsh, and the kind of 21st century “Wenglish” – Welsh structure, English vocabulary – that must give the language purists heart attacks, Dafydd James’s play tells the story of young Aneurin, on a weekend home from his life as a temporary office worker and aspiring writer in London, and his chosen family of gay men in the city of his birth, including thirtyish gay couple Rhys and Gareth, and ex-London showbiz extra Dada, now almost 50, but still game for a bit of love and laughter.

It’s a long night in Cardiff, and in its final half-hour, James’s play looks as if it will never end; it has more climaxes than the average porn movie, plunges wildly into emotional excess as Aneurin tries to face up to the death of his mother, and ends, unbelievably, with a fifteen-strong choir arriving on stage to sing a sentimental closing anthem, loosely based on I Am What I Am.
Despite its excesses, though, Llwyth is a play pulsing with energy, the kind of stereotype-busting cultural event which reclaims huge tracts of traditional Welsh male culture – including, after a fashion, the language itself – for those who might once have had to leave Wales entirely, in order to express the sexuality they were born with.

Joyce McMillan
Until 28 August
p. 276

ENDS ENDS

About these ads

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s