Friday, 6 February 2015

Mae Newid yn Chênj by Annie

 Annie has kindly agreed to review some Welsh language productions that have played locally in North Wales

Mae Newid yn Chênj

                                           by William Owen (Borth-y-Gest)

                             Neuadd Dwyfor Pwllheli, 17th January 2015

                                           Cwmni Drama Llanystumdwy

(Image/Photo accessed from

This Welsh-language comedy contains many of the expected aspects of a traditional bedroom farce: a discontented couple, clandestine meetings of lustful intent, various bedroom frolics and the risk of discovery. The word Newid means change in Welsh and the word Chênj is a loan-word from English which also means change, and this in itself is quite playful, suggesting that it will be a change to have a change!

John Elias Thomas and his wife Bessie are the archetypal late middle-aged married couple, locked into a grumbling, apparently discontented relationship which nevertheless represents a comfortable codependency of many years longstanding.

At the opening of the play, both are attempting to arrange clandestine meetings with the objects of their lust, concealing phone calls and arrangements in a complex web of lies and deceit. Both treat the other with a mixture of familiarity and contempt,John Elias grumbling and grunting his way through his dialogue and revealing the depths of his inner discontent.

John Elias becomes convinced that his wife will be away for the night and arranges a tryst with the object of his lust, Hannah, who he wines, dines and intoxicates with alcohol, returning with her to his home and attempting to charm her into bed. Unbeknown to John Elias, his wife has also engaged in an illicit meeting, and believing that John Elias is away for the night,brings her would-be lover home....

The ensuing attempts of both to conceal their would-be lovers from each other provides much of the comedy, and ultimately both retire for the night in apparently affable harmony: the habitual congeniality of a longstanding relationship where familiarity is mixed with frustration and grumbling complacency in equal measure.

A small group of four local actors performed in this play, Gwynne Wheldon gave a strongly characterful performance as John Elias,a grumbling grunting middle aged man trying desperately to impress with an obsequious attempt at charm, his vocal,facial and physical expressions were excellent. Equally characterful were the performances of Carys Jones,Branwen Davies and Richard Parry. The audience regularly rocked with laughter throughout the short play, which was performed with a minimal set.It seems many in the audience could relate on some level to the rather grumpy familiarity that exists between a husband and wife!

By Annie ( )

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