Greg Aitken keeps us up to date…
29 August 2017
Potentially a very strong production, is how the director of Do Not Go Gentle, Ray Thomas summarised the joint companies work after their first rehearsal together. Ray Thomas has made significant changes to the rehearsed play that he left in Mullumbimby in May. In Cardiff he has created some lovely touches that give a clearer through line for the plays narrative.
The two companies met for the first time at a meeting and reception at the Chapter Clubrooms in Cardiff two nights previously. Initial nervousness gave way to jovial camaraderie. Friendships were already developing. From the first moments in the rehearsal we could tell that the Everyman actors have real quality. Geraint Dixons Scott is heroic and driven while Rosy Greenwood’s Wilson has a lovely warmth and positive girlish humour. Peter Harding-Roberts captures the inner quality of man angry at the world while Arnold Phillips sensitive reaction to Cate Feldmann’s Bowers is particularly poignant. Hayter’s Hill, Owen Trevor-Jones quickly falls into stride with his Oates. Already you can see that “the Explorers ” are going to work very well together.
The Welsh actors lovely voices blend beautifully with our Australian accented actors. Concerns about the loss of vocal authenticity dismissed. What audiences will find is a lovely contrast of voices to a very poetic text.
Alex Benham who is doing sound said during a break in Act One, “we have a show.” Jill Benham whispers to me that when Sue Gallagher (Maria) sings it brings her to tears. What the director has found since the May Mullumbimby rehearsals is the inner life of the characters. There are some lovely scenes already. For a first rehearsal of two disparate companies the blending is touching. There is a wonderful scene when the explorers talk about their ailments. The writer Patricia Cornelius has lent heavily in this scene on Under Milkwood. Very funny indeed. This first rehearsal run was more than encouraging, more than a sigh of relief, though that was evident, this first rehearsal is the platform for a very exciting production.