Theatre review: Heroine, Theatr Clwyd, Mold

Reporter:

Jamie Bowman

HOW far would you go to make your community safe?

Heroine begins with another night at the community centre, the ladies are cooking, having a natter with a cup of tea and playing bingo. 

As we enter the Emlyn Williams Theatre at Theatr Clwyd as audience members, the friends have already started discussing the latest goings on in their community.  

This made you feel as if you're a part of the group, not waiting for a play to begin.

It was a great start to the performance, before it had even officially started, because already the women are breaking down barriers of traditional theatre. You could see many were wondering when the play begins and a bit uncomfortable - a sign of what is yet to come. 

Grace, played by Asmara Gabrielle, enters the community centre after being discharged from the army. 

It's very awkward between her and the others, especially Wendy, played by Lucy Thackeray. 

The relationship between the two at first is painful to watch. They portray an awkward first meeting so well, with Wendy trying everything to make Grace feel comfortable, but Grace not really wanting to be there - just looking for a place to stay. 

Despite the awkwardness and what already seems like a conflict of personalities, everything seems fairly peaceful and nothing too out of the ordinary. 

But the concept of fighting for what you believe in becomes stronger and stronger throughout, to the point where nothing is as clear as it seems. 

At first the four main protagonists, also including the lovable character of Beverly, played by Maggie McCarthy, and Wendy Morgan's Cheryl, start to protest their beliefs about radical Islam. 

Their views are strong against terrorism, and they all have their own reasons, but it becomes apparent that some have been hiding what they really believe in. 

Heroine is gripping throughout. The raw emotions portrayed by the actresses are truly breathtaking. 

Although not a main character, Hannah Traylen as Shelley really stood out to me. 

To see her powerful portrayal of a young woman who deals with so much, from the pressures of being a mum to trying to help those closest to her was incredible. 

She really draws the audience in with Shelley's story and as a new actor on the scene, I can guarantee this girl will go far. Watch this space! 

Her final scenes with Gabrielle are outstanding. The seemingly real emotions between the half-sisters after dealing with an awful lot of pain in their lives shines through. 

They're torn between what is right and wrong, leading the play to such a thought-provoking end. 

And I couldn't write about Heroine without mentioning McCarthy's Beverley. 

She is definitely the comic relief in the world of anger and heartache - the climax of the play produces. 

By the end, I felt a real connection with the character of a grandma struggling to feed her two children and doing anything she can to try and change society for the better. 

I have to say, Heroine is one of the best plays I've seen at Theatr Clwyd. You leave the theatre really thinking about current issues and in the light of Brexit and the sheer amount of hatred in the world, it really does give you more of a perspective on things. 

It's definitely a must-see, touching on the twists and turns of political views and extremist religions. 

 

Heroine runs at Theatr Clwyd until November 4. 

Email:

jamie.bowman@nwn.co.uk

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