Review: August 012 - Yuri @ Chapter
Thursday 8th October 2015
August 012 are building a reputation as a theatre company that seeks out the odd and rarely seen. Productions like Caligula and Roberto Zucco have left a trail of dark tremors over the theatre landscape in South Wales. They leave no prisoners...
Translated from the French play by Fabrice Melquiot, Yuri is being performed in English and Welsh (so, everyone's happy). It's a bizarre story, Welsh-ified here to the brink of abstraction. Adele and Patrick are a couple keen to have a child, when one random day, she brings back a teenager called Yuri. He's mute and appears a bit "simple". He is apparently Russian, thus spiralling the story into ever more perplexing areas of theatrical surrealism.
"Half-naked but fully-humoured"
Although mostly amusing (the amount of glitter used is outrageous), this show somehow lacks the crackle of previous works. There are more vulgar elements that gradually seep into the piece. With no real reverence, this feels like a cheap thrill, masquerading as something shocking. It just makes a Welsh couple look like darn fools, preying on a vulnerable boy.
The interactions between Patrick and the crew are stimulating, declaring lighting cues and cutting music short. Played by Ceri Murphy, it's a frantic performance, half-naked but fully-humoured its delivery. As Adele, Carys Eleri is a hoot: a half-loopy, half-smouldering wannabe mother prototype. Bringing Yuri home from a supermarket is testament to her aching desire to become a parent. The lack of fertility in their relationship turns to this disjointed dispatch of the kidnapping of Yuri.
As the title character, Guto Wynne Davies, passes for a Russian very well (as the play goes on, we discover he isn't). In his vacant delivery - sometimes having super strength, others being as timid as a dormouse - it's safe to stay he is emotionally unusable. A few other highlights were his urinating on the cushions, as we are witness to his bottom (and a fine one it is, too) and the sucking on a Kinder Surprise. The reveal of his penis (possibly a fake one) left the audience having moments of blushing laughter.
We, as spectators, never find out who he really is, as is uttered by Patrick at the very end of the show. But, we do get at least four national flags and anthems blasted at us, as his true identity is pealing away. The bad taste of the show lies in the morality of those perceived as young adults, becoming more than this and bearing offspring. This obviously remains morally ambiguous and something to personally comprehend.
Not for the faint of heart.
Baffling, troublesome and vexing.
Rating: 3 stars
Yuri continues at Chapter Arts Centre till Saturday 17th October, performed in English, Welsh and BSL interpretation.
Note from Weeping Tudor: "Like my namesake, a brand new theatre company is to be born. Weeping Tudor Productions shall stage rare, new and LGBT+ works. You can donate here via Kickstarter for our inaugural piece, Medusa's Trap by Erik Satie. More info on my article on theSprout here."
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Photo Credit: www.august012.co.uk