Edinburgh Fringe 2012
A warm, witty and musical take on life on a Welsh farm as one member prepares to leave the dysfunctional family to head for London in search of love and life.
Anni, the Harri-Parris’s only daughter, is leaving the farm, she is going to London to find life and love. She is having a leaving party, she doesn’t want a leaving party, but she is having a leaving party. Unfortunately she has no idea who any of the guests are – after a certain amount of close inspection it seems most are from a coach that broke down at the top of the very long lane to the farm…
The family squabble, share the local gossip (including a run down on recent deaths in the area) and sing to us. We hear about the best nightclub in West Wales, Anni’s search for love (ranging as far afield as Fishguard) and the perils of straying beyond the borders. We even learn a little welsh.
This is Mai oh Mai Productions first visit to Edinburgh following a successful run in Cardiff and a tour of rural Wales and they certainly brought West Wales to the north. For an hour I forgot I was in Edinburgh, so vivid was the recreation of the joys and the high life of Pembrokeshire. The cast are enthusiastic, lively and play off each other well. They captured the nature of family squabbles where the same arguments have clearly been rehearsed time and time again, with the quick responses and backchat were entirely believable.
Anni (Llinos Mai) was nicely downtrodden providing a good foil to the warring cousins: the thoroughly camp Deiniol (Rhydian Jones) who is determined that the party will go well and we will all enjoy ourselves and Ifan (Daniel Rochford), the stolid farmer who sees no need to ever stray beyound Haverford West. The final one of the quartet, Branek (Gareth Wyn Griffiths) as the outsider, showed us just how difficult the Welsh language is and proved to be a sparkling pianist.
The audience were cast as the hapless coach party and seemed to thoroughly enjoy their role in the show, playing up to Deiniol’s insistence that they had been at school with Annie or were a longstanding neighbour. The chocolate cake proved popular as well!
The set gave a fair impression of a run down farmhouse with the piano in pride of place. The other instruments for the musical pieces – keyboard and drums were well placed to avoid losing the sense of a domestic setting.
The original songs all came over well – essential when the laughs are in the lyrics. The one about the approaching weekenders could well be echoed by many Edinburgh locals at this time of year… although my favourite was the funny but poignant one in which we learned of Deiniol’s travels and why he is back in the West Walian fold.
All in all a thoroughly enjoyable romp!