Pete's Picks

It’s a pleasure to announce the Torch Theatre’s Spring Season and it’s very exciting to see that we have not one but two Torch Theatre Company Shows. We welcome back Grav by Owen Thomas – the Ray Gravell story. Grav is embarking on its fourth tour and can be seen in Cardiff, Llanelli, Abergavenny and London; this year also takes in New York, Washington DC and possibly Baltimore. People can’t seem to get enough of this show and we are very happy to bring it back. During the rehearsal period, performances and subsequent tour, Tinopolis TV, will be filming for a documentary on Grav going to America. We’ve had to do a certain amount of fundraising to make this happen and we’ve seen a great deal of generosity from local companies and from the likes of our wonderful patron Dame Judi Dench.


The second Torch show is The Wood, also penned by Owen Thomas. I commission Owen to write The Wood for the centenary of the end of the First World War,I never imagined that we would end up with such a powerful, moving piece of theatre. Based on an idea by the actor Ifan Huw Dafydd, it charts an old man’s journey back to Mametz Wood to fulfil a promise he made to his best friend who lost his life alongside him in 1916. It has a wonderful poetic feel to it and set to a fabulous original underscore by James Williams, it really is one to look out for. It can be seen all over Wales throughout March.


Visiting this spring is one of my favourite companies – Vamos. Vamos are a full mask, mime, theatre company, you never see the actors faces – don’t be put off by this, it is the best drama coming out of the midlands, stunning stuff! The company have just come back from China where they took their huge hit, Finding Joy. In my twenty years at the Torch, Finding Joy is probably my favourite visiting show.


Their new show, A Brave Face, is set in Afghanistan in 2009:


Afghanistan: 2009. Under bright blue skies, a small girl stands and watches the soldier. She smiles, just like his sister…
Ryan is there to see the world, learn a trade, get a life. Training is complete, combat is a buzz; he’s part of a team, and knows his job. But on one particular hot and desperate tour of duty, Ryan sees things he can’t talk about, to anyone. And then, when he returns home, the trouble really begins.


Be prepared to be very moved!


We also have Richard III performed by Pembrokeshire born actress Sara Beer. Written by award-winning playwright Kaite O’Reilly, director Phillip Zarrilli brings his latest production to the Torch and other venues across Wales in March 2018. Phillip said “Richard III Redux is not a performance of Shakespeare’s play. Rather, it is a roughing up, a re-visitation of the problematic set of assumptions and premises on which Shakespeare (falsely) (mis)shaped his Richard as ‘a poisonous bunch-back’d toad’, ‘deform’d, unfinish’d…villain’. 


Some great comedy from Mark Watson, Mike Doyle and Owen Money but also George Egg DIY Chef – I saw this guy in Edinburgh, he’s very funny and managed to cook a meal that you could cook in your hotel room, so he fried eggs on the iron, made an omelette in the kettle and toasted sandwiches in the trouser press! Bonkers.

We also have some lovely shows for children, Monstersaurus, from the creators of Aliens Love Underpants -


One day Monty found a book ‘Inventions Very Rare’ Create yourself a monster friend but only if you dare!


We also have Where’s My Igloo Gone from The Bone Ensemble:


Oolik is an ordinary girl who goes on an extraordinary journey ….. sitting in her igloo, a drop of water drips on her head, then another – her home is melting! Oolik sets out on a journey to find help. On her way, she meets some exciting friends.


Two highly recommended and very different shows.


The wonderful National Dance Company Wales bring their latest show Terra Firma, always and exciting time when NDCW are in the building.


We also have some fantastic live broadcasts coming our way – the RSC’s Twelfth Night and Macbeth, the MET Opera's Semiramide and Cosi Fan Tutti. Also, The Royal Opera’s Carmen and Macbeth, National Theatre's Julius Caesar, the Royal Ballet’s Manon, to mention but a few.


We look forward to seeing you either at the Torch or at one of our Torch Theatre productions on the road.