Theatre Review: Lightspeed From Pembroke Dock at Chapter Arts.

 

A man and a  woman in bright orange suits and carrying helmets.
*Thanks to Dirty Protest for tickets to review this performance. Photo credit: Jorge Lizalde.

I remember seeing the flyer for Lightspeed From Pembroke Dock whilst signing my children into their class at No Fit State one Saturday morning. The flyer was bright, bold and inspiring and I knew then and there that I had to see the performance!

Dirty Protest are definitely on my radar, but I hadn’t yet seen one of their productions (I was so keen to see Sugar Baby but didn’t manage to catch it!), so I was super excited to attend Chapter last night to see Lightspeed From Pembroke Dock by Mark Williams. The performance was in the Studio of Chapter, a place I’d never been before, but will definitely go again!

Before we get into the performance, I just want to say how I managed to still enjoy the show despite choosing one of the seats with a restricted view of the stage. I was sat in the second row against the wall, so some of the stage was cut off from my view, mostly because it was the only row that wasn’t tiered. Despite this, I managed to get involved in the story and here are my thoughts…

Firstly, the cast was made up of four very bright and enthusiastic performers. I immediately recognised Keiron Self from Wind in the Willows, he played the amazing and funny Toad of Toad Hall and I was really excited to see him in a different role. Alongside him were Dick Bradnum, Jack Hammett and Sian Davies. All the performers played more than one character, and I literally have no idea how they remember to change their accents, attitudes and remember all their lines; amazing talent and dedication to performance in my opinion!

The story follows two time lines, past and present, but the connection doesn’t become clear until the very end of the performance. We follow young Star Wars obsessed Sam on his mission to see the Millennium Falcon, built by his father in Pembroke Dock. Alongside this story we follow older Sam as he tries to track down his missing daughter. The stories follow on from each other until they merge towards the end of the show, and what a show it was!

Firstly, the stage was set with an array of interesting and quirky props, from clothing rails to clingfilm, there was a lot to get excited about even before the production began. Immediately we’re introduced to Young Sam (Jack Hammett) who is recording his own Star Wars inspired movie; Jack Hammett performed Sam with a childlike reality and energy. I really loved his energy on stage, it was very powerful and inspiring, and I constantly thought about how we, as adults, need to embrace our passions much, much more than we do… 

A young man with a toolbox filming a scene on a haldheld camera balanced on a box.
Photo credit:  Jorge Lizalde.

Soon we meet Lizzie, Sam’s daughter. She was a passionate force within the production, keen for her father to pursue his dreams. I loved Sian Davies, she was bubbly and bright on the stage, and her interactions with the other cast members were natural and well rehearsed.

As for Dick Bradnum, he was an interesting addition to the cast. I really enjoyed his performance of Jerry Sanders towards the end of the production, as well as his ability to flick from one character to the next without any trouble at all. It was very impressive indeed.

Keiron Self was outstanding as usual, and there were so many times during the performance that I truly felt his emotions emitting out across the audience. He brought a tear to my eye towards the end of the production and his telelphone scene reminded me (for some reason?!) of The League of Gentlemen!

A man with a basket of phones, plus one held to each ear and a girl in green looking at him.
Photo credit:  Jorge Lizalde.

The performers worked incredibly hard throughout the show, making full use of the stage, set and props. I can only imagine how exhausting and exhilarating it must be to perform in such a way. The story was both intriguing and emotional, and I think the dialogue is extremely well written and performed with passion by all the actors involved.

I also loved the interpretation of stage, set and props. There were some very ingenious ideas, such as the lightsaber tube designs and clothes rail curtains. I also loved the use of music and sound throughout the performance, adding an extra layer to the fun and sentimental production. 

I implore you to catch this production, whether you’re a Star Wars fan or not, you will be able to relate to at least one of the characters. It left me feeling empowered and energised for my own hobbies and passions, as well as very keen to hold my children tight, because life is just too short to not show someone how much they’re loved…

Lightspeed at Pembroke Dock is touring until 5th May 2018 and you can catch it at one of the locations listed here.

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