Hiraeth**+ (Soho Theatre)

Posted: March 19, 2015 in Theatre

hiraethThis review was originally written for The Public Reviews: http://www.thepublicreviews.com

Tom Tones once sang of “the green green grass of home”, but, for Buddug James Jones (Bud), the grass looks greenest in the opposite direction – on the other side of the Severn Bridge in London to be exact. Being told that all people are either rocks or rivers, Bud concludes that she is a river and needs to run. Based on Bud’s account of her departure from her family home in a West Wales farming region, she performs the show along with Max Mackintosh, playing guitar and all the other characters in the story and a non-speaking David Grubb playing fiddle and drums. The three all wear patterned jumpers of a kind not likely to be seen around during London Fashion Week, but presumably they are made from the wool of Welsh sheep. Incorporating feigned amateurishness into their well practiced routines, Bud and Max tell us of a community where all objects and events are “lush” and all inhabitants (most of them named Jones) are “legend”. The pair’s performance consists of informal, humorous storytelling, mixed in with pleasant if unmemorable songs written by Mackintosh and Grubb The show’s title is a Welsh word which implies pride in ones roots and sadness for the loss of a way of life. However, the show fails to explore these themes, being more about mocking Bud’s home life and recounting her experiences in the big city. Apart from a brief bout of homesickness, Bud conveys no real sense of loss or disconnection from her heritage, which is rather a pity, because the show needs more poignancy and depth. In essence, this is a one joke show, poking gentle fun at the rural Welsh for the amusement of (possibly) sophisticated urban audiences. When the joke gets thin over the course of 65 minutes, all that is left is the cheerfulness and affability of the performers, which is not quite enough to carry the show through.

Performance date: 18 March 2015

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