Tuesday 9th August 18.05
A few years ago we saw and loved “The Bloody Ballads” at the Sherman theatre in Cardiff. At the time I remembered saying it
would be a perfect show to take to the Edinburgh festival and in 2013 I was proved right. In 2015 we thoroughly enjoyed “The
Forsythe Sisters” at the Norwegian Church in Cardiff so in the centenary of Roald Dahl’s birth in Cardiff it is only fitting that those
responsible, the excellent 'Gaggle Babble' should now be bringing “Wonderman” to this year’s festival.
There are few secrets about Roald Dahl’s life but not many people know he was injured as a fighter pilot during the 2nd World
War. The premise of “Wonderman” is that whilst recovering in hospital from a bad crash his mind wanders and a variety of
dream sequences re-create some of the more memorable episodes from “Tales Of The Unexpected”, two which I remember
well from my childhood.
If this set-up isn’t enough for you we have a succession of musical numbers to underpine the drama. This is a bold undertaking
and the fact it succeeds so well is a tribute to the talents of everyone involved. Amy Leach’s direction ensures the show never
sags or gets too complicated and the words of Daf James (both script and lyrics) perfectly compliment the music of Lucy
Rivers. They spoil us with a great tight band who provide great support to a cast who sing beautifully.
There is a lot going on here but the performers rise magnificently to all the challenges placed before them. Joe Shire, Lucy
Rivers and Hannah McPake play a variety of characters but full credit must go to Adam Redmore. He is the centrepiece of the
production and produces a moving performance of constant bewilderment as either the airman, young Roald Dahl or various
character’s from his imagination.
It is easy to dismiss Roald Dahl as a children’s writer though, sadly, I was born too early to read his books growing up. “Wonderman”, however, is a piece aimed at adults and was a lot more dramatic and moving than I expected. This is a stunning piece of theatre which deserves to be a huge hit.
Congratulations to all concerned, you should all be proud of yourselves.