Sunday, 2 November 2014

'twll dyn pob sais"


Last night we went to Theatre Clwyd to watch a "local" play entitled  Somewhere In England .
During the war, the BBC farmed out many of it's radio production broadcasts to the safety of the provinces. The ' city' of Bangor ( which lies just down the coast from us and which is no larger than an average town) had the responsibility of housing and dealing with a significant influx of London based variety artists.Jimmy Handley, Arthur Askey and a whole bevy of other comics and singers found themselves in the cultural backwater of the Welsh town and the play tries to capture this Welsh/ English, Urban/ rural, sexually adventurous / puritanical divide as the radio stars forge an uneasy truce with the locals.
The writer Mike James has chosen to produce a musical comedy of sorts over a straight drama, and so we have plenty of English bashing by the Welsh ( cleverly explained with written subtitles above the stage) , popular and well executed wartime songs and faithful reenactment a of popular radio shows such as Jimmy Handley's ITMA.
There is also a glimpse of how war changed the sexual behaviour and language of a significant number of the population , so the whole thing is not quite as fluffy as it at first appears.
It reminded me of a kind of adult pantomime .
Having said this, I think I would have preferred a straight drama to the comedy and one rather touching set of scenes perhaps hinted of just how powerful a straight production would have been.
I am referring to a scene where the comic Arthur Askey ( wonderfully played by Paul Barnhill) meets one of his biggest fans, a plain and simple farmer's wife, who is suffering from a severe mental disorder after the death of her husband. The comic's warmth and sympathy as he gets the matriarch to dance in her kitchen is beautifully observed and moving, and hints that the play would have been very different if it had not played for laughs.
Having said this, the laughs came thick and fast....and not just at the expense of the English characters, which was a surprise.
( the title btw refers to a common Welsh put down to the English.....it means literally
ARSEHOLES TO THE ENGLISH!)

31 comments:

  1. I love watching old films like Ghost Train with Arthur Askey, John. Never understood why some the different home countries don't like each other? My mother's great grandmother came from Wrexham.

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    1. I am old enough to remember Arthur Askey from tv
      I always found him amusing, even when he sang that irritating bee song

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    2. I am 50, John. I remember Arthur on tv too.

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  2. Thanks for the title translation. Without it, I would not have known your true feelings, or understood what a good title it was, again.

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    1. I think the phrase was the first one I ever learnt as a youngster

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  3. I am an American man, and I have decided to boycott American women. In a nutshell, American women are the most likely to cheat on you, to divorce you, to get fat, to steal half of your money in the divorce courts, don’t know how to cook or clean, don’t want to have children, etc. Therefore, what intelligent man would want to get involved with American women?

    American women are generally immature, selfish, extremely arrogant and self-centered, mentally unstable, irresponsible, and highly unchaste. The behavior of most American women is utterly disgusting, to say the least.

    This blog is my attempt to explain why I feel American women are inferior to foreign women (non-American women), and why American men should boycott American women, and date/marry only foreign (non-American) women.

    BOYCOTT AMERICAN WOMEN!

    www.boycottamericanwomen.com

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    1. I received this comment, too. I deleted it. I don't know why anyone would announce a boycott of American women in Wales.

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    2. This has been around for quite awhile now. You'd think someone would have the imagination to write something new, wouldn't you?

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    3. Somebody must have done him wrong. He probably deserved it.

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  4. I think someone dislikes American women!! Of course, American men have no faults what-so-ever!!! LMAO!! Friend of yours John?

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    1. Nothing to do with me!

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    2. I've been boycotting ALL women of planet Earth, and beyond, with just one exception, ever since I got married 37 years ago. They don't seem to have noticed.

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  5. I see you have received the boycott email as I did. I deleted mine but you may want to keep yours for show. I suspect it is an elaborate attempt to scramble our computers.

    I am certainly glad you translated the title because I had no idea what it said.

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  6. And a good time was had by all - both players and audience by the sound of it.

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  7. At curtain call, I trust the Arthur Askey character twinkled and exited with an "I thank you!"

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    1. The actor nailed every small mannerism with some skill Ray

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    2. Good. To many people nowadays his name doesn't mean anything but he really was an effervescent original. Pity that he had such a dismal and lonely life at the end, having to be a double amputee. He deserved a better finale than that.

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  8. That's funny... I sat in a hall in the South of England watching Under Milk Wood last week !

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  9. Comedy or drama, it sounds like a fun night out.

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  10. The BBC performers were billeted just along the coast in Llanfairfechan. Jimmy Handley was placed in the house which I now live in, with Arthur Askey in the house next door. They were given a private entrance to the station, enabling them to board the train without being mobbed by adoring fans. We still have the key, but sadly no one has offered to reinstate the gate for us...

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    1. Jackie..that is a wonderful story..such a small world
      How did you find my blog today?

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    2. John , I've been a fan of your blog for ages. You should bring your lovely dogs for a walk on the beach here sometime - and then pop in for a cup of tea and some cake - we're right on the sea front, just along from the model yacht pond.

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  11. As usual, I am lost today, trying to figure out if you really liked it or not. Oh, well, I'm not Welch or English, so no problem.

    Good day!

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  12. How did they manage the sub-titles above the stage?

    Sounds like an interesting show, especially if one knew the history of the characters.

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  13. Looks like fun.
    I'm on walkabout, and currently a whole lot closer to you than a few days ago.

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  14. Sometimes it's easier to get a comedy made, producers being a very wary lot.

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  15. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  16. Sounds like an interesting show, but I would not even attempt to pronounce that phrase. (Which is probably a good thing since I shouldn't be walking around London saying that!)

    You sure get some interesting comments.

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