THEATRE REVIEW: On Bear Ridge starring Rhys Ifans, Rakie Ayola, Jason Hughes & Sion Daniel Young at the Royal Court

WORTH A LOOK?: ***

WHERE? Royal Court Theatre RUNTIME: 85 minutes (no interval)

WHEN? 26/10, press night 28/10, runs to 23/11/19

Owners John Daniel and Noni  are not leaving their isolated shop on Bear Ridge despite the lack of custom and instead are reminiscing about the times when people were not divided and used the old language.

  • Read on for reasons including why monstagigz favourite Sion Daniel Young shines here

Sound familiar? Brexit? Catalonia? This National Theatre Wales co-production with the Royal Court isn’t specific about the location but the accents are Welsh although the language is English.

This new play by Ed Thomas, who co-created the television drama Hinterland, reminded us of Beckett’s Waiting For Godot  crossed with The League Of Gentleman. Although there is more going on than the former and it’s not as funny as the latter.

Rhys Ifans (A Christmas Carol, Old Vic) is always good value and here conveys the desolation of someone who has lost his trade as well as his community. Rakie Ayola’s (Channel 4’s No Offence) Noni provides a sensitivity and depth which becomes important later as we learn more about the couple.

Sion Daniel Young (see below) works at the shop, lives below it and initially provides some comedic moments as he interacts with our odd couple. Later he displays outstanding sensitivity as we learn more about his relationship with the pair.

Daniel Young is the reason we’re here tonight as we’ve been impressed by his recent roles in Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time at the Gielgud Theatre and Nightfall at the Bridge Theatre. We’re not disappointed with a moving portrayal whose significance becomes clearer as we spend more time in his company.

This Life‘s Jason Hughes also provides support as The Captain who has become separated from his troops  and brings with him a sense of impending doom reinforced by the intermittent sounds of aircraft overhead which so trouble the couple.

The scenery of the shop’s walls peel away during the production revealing the menacing landscape of rocks and cliff edges as the remoteness of the ridge is reinforced.

On Bear Ridge makes for an unsettling evening then as we contemplate many difficult circumstances which have a resonance with our own. Occasional moments of humour are welcome and it is Daniel Young whose story lingers longest in the memory.

  • Picture via Facebook courtesy Royal Court Tickets
  • Have you seen this show? Let us know what you thought in the comments below
  • Enjoyed this review? Follow its author on Twitter @NeilDurham, email neildurham3@gmail.com and check us out on Instagram and Facebook

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