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Watermill - The Garden of Llangoed

13th to 17th September 2005 and on tour.

From the Newbury Weekly News (2005).

Catch this on village tour

The Garden of Llangoed, at The Watermill, from Tuesday, September 13 to Saturday, September 17, then on tour

The war has gone, leaving damage in its wake - to those who took part and to beautiful gardens left to run wild while more important matters occupied their owners.

Kit Sayers (Andy Crabb) returns to Llangoed and his childhood friend Jane Mortimer (Katarina Olsson) with whom romance had begun to blossom before he joined the RAF.

But Kit has been long away and is haunted by the memory of those he has killed; the relationship both are desperate to re-establish seems unachievable.

One thing Kit can do for Jane is to find her a gardener, one William Adams (Christopher Hampson), a fellow flier and man of Harlech, who has been a father figure to the younger man, knowing his weaknesses and helping him through them.

So the blunt Welshman comes to restore Jane's garden; both he and Jane are tellers of tales and he listens to her story of a previous owner, Eve, whose husband and lover fought a duel over her, and who is said to haunt Llangoed.

Against a backcloth of grey sea and distant cliff the three actors bring the different characters to vivid life, the golden damaged boy Kit, who loves flying and has stayed to test captured planes in which he feels 'like a falling angel', Bill, archetypally Welsh and proud of it, his conversation spiked with glorious digs at the English and the vibrant, entirely believable character of Jane, torn by emotions and the contrast between the two men.

In the interval, aware of the rapidly increasing tension, we speculated on the outcome of the triangle.

Writer and director Ade Morris caught us all out for none of us got it right and for the sake of those who are about to see the play on tour I will keep the secret.

Alternately accompanied by the backwash of lazy waves, birdsong and a hauntingly lovely Welsh folk air played and adapted by Paul Kissaun, The Garden at Llangoed is a complete delight, mixing humour with the darker emotions before the final dramatic ending.

This absolute winner for Ade Morris deserved a longer Watermill run.


From the Newbury Weekly News (2006).

All the right buttons

Ade Morris' The Garden of Llangoed: beautifully-crafted and well-cast

The Garden of Llangoed, at The Watermill, Bagnor, from Tuesday, September 5 to Saturday, September 9

Ade Morris' poignant and intriguing Welsh romance The Garden of Llangoed is a beautifully-crafted play.

Set in the aftermath of the Second World War, with a backdrop of hills and a lake with an evocative atmospheric soundscape, the story focuses on Jane Mortimer and her relationship with her childhood sweetheart, the handsome RAF pilot Kit Sayers as they try to rekindle their love affair, "one button at a time".

Jane is desperate to find a gardener to tend to the derelict wilderness of a garden and so Kit introduces her to his old wartime flying companion, the stoic, blunt Bill Adams from Harlech.

He has managed to put the horrors of the war behind him, whereas Kit is constantly troubled by the memories and echoes of their experiences and the "ghosts in their heads".

Kit is still in active service, flying captured enemy planes in Farnborough in order to test their capabilities.

The three soon discover new friendships and fears, which plague their idyllic existence, making them face up to hidden truths.

Slowly a friendship forms between Bill and Jane. She gives him an Enfield motorcycle to make his journey from Harlech easier, and teaches him how to ride it.

Inevitably a passionate love triangle emerges with a most surprising outcome.

Interwoven into the plot is the story of a previous owner of the house, Eve, who is said to haunt the garden following a duel between her husband and her lover, cleverly echoing the current situation.

The acting is splendid. Morag Cross portrays Jane with a fresh, vibrant passion, and is totally convincing.

Christopher Hampson perfectly captures the blunt Welshman Bill, and his good-humoured disregard for the English, and Andy Crab sensitively plays the tortured Kit; together they simply sparkled.

Inventively directed by Ade Morris, this is a total gem of a play. I urge you not to miss it.

It goes on tour around North Wales and then to the villages of Hampstead Norreys, Pewsey, Lambourn, Hungerford, Aldermaston, Hermitage, Brimpton and Beenham.