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Contemporary Drama this November

Diary of a Madman (Thu 9 Nov)

Diary of a Madman may be a small-scale one-man show, and yet its emotional heft and compelling storytelling make it a major theatrical event. Having been six years in the making by Living Pictures Productions, the acclaimed production has toured across the UK and internationally, and is set to go to India this winter. Actor and Artistic Director of the company, Robert Bowman, won the ‘Best Actor in an English Language Production’ prize at the 2014 Wales Theatre Critics’ Awards for his riveting portrayal of Poprishchin, a low ranking civil servant driven insane by government bureaucracy and hierarchy. Based on Nikolai Gogol’s celebrated eponymous short story, Diary of a Madman is a dark, acidly funny political satire that showcases the compelling charisma and intensity of Bowman as an actor at the peak of his powers. This is a fantastic opportunity to see a piece of Welsh theatre with heavyweight international clout; performed by a master of experience, audiences are in safe hands with the albeit unsettling Diary of a Madman.

Little Wolf (Thu 16 – Fri 17 Nov)

Shot through with deliciously dark ‘Scandi-Noir’ touches, Little Wolf is a must-see for lovers of the brooding, icy psychological thrillers that have ignited TV drama in recent years. Award-winning Welsh writer and director Simon Harris, and LUCID Theatre Company, present this major new version of Ibsen’s Little Eyolf, which, though generally regarded as one of the playwright’s finest works, is rarely seen on the UK stage.

Harris commented: ‘I came across Little Eyolf when I was in my twenties. It had such a mesmerising and powerful effect on me that I never forgot it. People who saw the 1982 BBC TV “Play of the Month”, starring Anthony Hopkins, Peggy Ashcroft and Diana Rigg loved it. We want to reclaim the urgent relevance of the play for the present through a radical act of re-imagining. The anxieties and challenges of parenthood, the agency of women, the welfare of children and the experience of loss are all profoundly contemporary concerns.’

Rita and Alfred are haunted by a sense of responsibility for the physical disability of their nine-year-old son, Wolf, who suffered an accident while they were in the very ecstasy of passion. Wolf’s subsequent disappearance and death, along with the discovery of Alfred’s love for his supposed half-sister, yields a tornado of mutual recrimination. This is a production that is an intense and compelling chamber drama. It is driven by emotions that are passionate and visceral while drawing the audience deep into the heart of the family’s world. Little Wolf is a play that will leave you wanting to discover more.

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