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Review: Light, Ladd & Emberton: Caitlin @ Chapter

Posted by Weeping Tudor from Cardiff - Published on 11/08/2015 at 14:34
0 comments » - Tagged as Culture, Dance, Music, People, Stage, Sport & Leisure, Topical, Alcohol

  • Caitlin

Light, Ladd & Emberton: Caitlin

Chapter Arts Centre

Wednesday 5th August 2015

It was hard to resist the charm of a show like this. Already a winner at Wales Theatre Awards for best dance piece and soon to be off on tour to Edinburgh, this is a hot ticket if ever there was one.

One reason for its "hot ticketness" is the intimate presentation of its dance work. As an audience of twenty spectators (in a circle of fold-up chairs), we are witness to the testimony of Caitlin Thomas, the long-suffering spouse of great Welsh writer, Dylan Thomas. Both are present for this AA meeting from hell.

The earthy and visceral scope of the choreography is crowned by the tempestuous and drunken nature of this man and woman, who are meant for each other and yet may very well destroy one another. Eddie Ladd (who I recently saw in {150} and also Blood on the Snow), as Caitlin, is a force to be reckoned with. She remains a hurtling force in Welsh dance and is no less remarkable in her Cymraeg persona as well. 

Gwyn Emberton as Dylan is also a stupendous dancer and a hundred times more good-looking than the real writer. His vacant and, at times, lustful face and movement are what make this Caitlin react in such curious and baffling ways. We see them as children, lovers, exes, drinking (lots of it), clambering in the fold-up chairs or simply lying dormant on the floor. The score by Thighpaulsandra had brilliantly fleeting moments of electronica - at times sounding like Messiaen on a bad day - and a touch of Stockhausen or even Luigi Nono. It complimented the mood perfectly.

Eddie's frequent circular motions, as if she is pushing a pram, hammer home her care for their three children and also the tightening of their rocky relationship. The repulsive scenes of excessive alcohol were here transformed into sugar-binging episodes. Sweets are the replacement and moments of Hungry Hungry Hippos soon flip into a chubby bunny challenge.

As an audience, we writhed in the abrupt, boisterous nature of the piece. Even just the use of the fold-out chairs was masterful, just as ways that they could both slip in or sliver in or even jolt in, and since they folded them up with them in and wriggled around in them for some time for comic effect.

We had an overfill of all things Dylan Thomas last year for his centenary. This show, however, presented him and his partner in a very different, avant-garde perspective.

An hour spent provoked, moved and assaulted.

Totally unmissable if you are in Edinburgh!

Rating: 4 stars

Caitlin is at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival from Friday 21st to Sunday 30th August 2015, at Dance Base, 14-16 Grassmarket.

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Photo Credit: William Orchard

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