ABOUT THE SHOW

Presented by Flying Bridge Theatre Company and Seabright Productions in association with Newport Live and the Pleasance

by Stephen Macdonald       Directed by Tim Baker

Design by Oliver Harman Sound by Dyfan Jones Lighting by Kevin Heyes

Stephen Macdonald’s Fringe First winning play about the unique friendship between celebrated World War One poets Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon. They met at Craiglockhart Hospital in 1917, and bonded over a mutual hatred of war and love of poetry. This production won a Best Actor accolade at the Wales Theatre Awards for Daniel Llewelyn Williams, who reprises his role here as Sassoon. The show is on the first part of a world tour commemorating the centenary of both the meeting depicted in the play, and of the Armistice. From acclaimed Welsh company Flying Bridge and Olivier Award winning producers Seabright Productions.

TICKETS

20 Sep
Caerphilly
Blackwood Miners Institute
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21 Sep
Monmouth
Savoy Theatre
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25 Sep
Abergavenny
The Borough Theatre
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26 Sep
Pontardawe
Pontardawe Arts Centre
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28 Sep
Newport
Riverfront Theatre
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03 Oct
Treorchy
Park And Dare Theatre
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05-06 Oct
Swansea Uni
Taliesin Arts Centre
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10 Oct
Warwick
Bridge House Theatre
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11 Oct
Hemel Hempstead
The Old Town Hall
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18-21 Oct
Hull
Hull Truck Theatre
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24-25 Oct
Lancaster
The Dukes
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26 Oct
Alnwick
Alnwick Playhouse
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30 Oct
Aberystwyth
Aberystwyth Arts Centre
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31 Oct
Didcot
Cornerstone Arts Centre
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02 Nov
Lincoln
Lincoln PAC
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7-11 Nov
Mold
Theatr Clwyd
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THE TEAM

Daniel Llewellyn-Williams

Siegfried Sassoon

Daniel graduated from LAMDA and is an Associate member of the company at Theatr Clwyd and Theatr Ardudwy. He is the founder of Flying Bridge Theatre Ltd and, with Tim Baker, is Co-Artistic Director. They are producing several big projects for National and International tours including Not About Heroes (2017) and The Eyes of the Day – A Chartist’s Story, a new musical set during the Chartist uprising of 1839.

Theatre includes: A Regular Little Houdini (Writer and Performer, Flying Bridge; International Tour, Artistic Excellence, Best Actor and Producer’s Encore awards, Hollywood Fringe Festival 2016 and Best Solo Show, San Diego Fringe 2016); Cyrano De Bergerac, Hamlet, Not About Heroes (Best Performance in the English Language, Wales Theatre Awards 2015), Arms and the Man, The Winslow Boy, As You Like It, The Taming of the Shrew, Arden of Faversham, Suddenly Last Summer, An Inspector Calls, Troilus and Cressida, Brassed Off (all Clwyd Theatr Cymru), The 39 Steps (West End); Robin Hood (Newport Riverfront); Macbeth (Pontardawe); The Comedy of Errors (Regents Park); Carrie’s War (West End and National tour); Hergé’s Adventures of Tintin (West End and National tour), Romans in Britain (Sheffield Crucible); The Three Musketeers (Titchfield Abbey Festival); My Sainted Aunt (New End Theatre); Macbeth and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Tour de Force) and Mother Clap’s Molly House (research and development for Mark Ravenhill).

Film includes: The Machine (Red and Black Films) Vanity Fair (Focus Features); Charlotte Grey (Warner Bros); The Gigolos (Punk Productions) and Down in the Tube Station at Midnight (Big Boy Productions).

Television includes: Born to Kill (Channel 4), Eastenders, Doctors and Torchwood (all BBC) Midsomer Murders and Ultimate Force (Bentley Productions); The Birthday Show (Helter Skelter) and Caerdydd (Fiction Factory).

As Fight Director: Hamlet, As You Like It, Cariad and Two Princes (all Clwyd Theatr Cymru); Macbeth (Pontardawe); After the End (Sherman Theatr Cymru), The Three Musketeers (Titchfield Abbey), Hamlet (Wild Thyme), The Things We Do For Love, Private Lives (Bill Kenwright); The Romans in Britain (Sheffield Crucible); Hergé’s Adventures of Tintin (West End/National Tour).

www.flyingbridgetheatre.co.uk

www.danielllewelynwilliams.co.uk

Iestyn Arwel

Wilfred Owen

Since graduating from Drama Centre London, Iestyn has appeared in the feature Burn, Burn, Burn, Gwaith Cartref and Rownd a Rownd (S4C), London Irish (Channel 4) and The List (Rungano Nyoni’s BAFTA Cymru winning short film). He has also appeared in productions at The Arcola; The Old Vic Tunnels; The Queen’s Theatre, Barnstaple; The Octagon, Bolton; The Lion and The Unicorn, Kentish Town; The King’s Head, Islington, the Wales Millennium Centre and the York Barbican. Iestyn was also fortunate enough to work with the original Pythons on Monty Python Live at The O2 understudying Michael Palin.

 

Tim Baker

Director

Tim Baker is a theatre director, adapter and writer, with many awards for his work. He is joint Artisitc Director of Flying Bridge Theatre. Tim has worked in Wales, Catalonia, Portland, Patagonia, Norway and extensively in Japan. Also in England – once (!), where he directed the 2002 National Theatre Production of Brecht’s The Threepenny Opera.
Tim has made a lifelong commitment to the theatre in Wales, Between 1997 and 2016, Tim was Associate Director at Theatr Clwyd, and Artistic Director of TC Theatre for Young People. Recently, after directing over 80 productions for Theatr Clwyd (and writing over 20 plays), Tim left to pursue more freelance work. Over the next year, Tim will complete his Arts Council of Wales Creative Wales Award, enabling him to travel to small nations all over the world and create conversations with artists and teachers about creativity, change and minority language in small nations.
Tim is a fluent Welsh speaker, and has directed two productions for the Welsh Language National Theatre of Wales.
Between 2008 and 2012 Tim was Artistic Director of the National Youth Theatre of Wales.
Whilst at Clwyd, under Tim’s direction, the Theatre for Young People created thrilling and innovative projects both in the theatre and beyond for families and young people. During 2015 Tim took his play Mimosa (charting the experience of the Welsh who left Wales for Patagonia in 1865), with a company of young actors, to Patagonia, touring through the “Wladfa” to great acclaim.
In 2013 Tim received many 5 star reviews for his musical adaptation, with composer Dyfan Jones, of Gill Lewis’ brilliant novel, Sky Hawk,
In December 2016 Tim’s play about a chance encounter between a young Syrian refugee and a young Welsh boy – Scattered played at the Good Chance Theatre in the refugee camp in Calais. It was seen again on the South Bank in London in August 2016, and earlier this year at the Refugee Season at the West Yorkshire Playhouse.
Tim has adapted many titles for the stage, including works by Dylan Thomas, Dickens, George Eliot and Steinbeck. Two of his adaptations, Great Expectations and The Grapes of Wrath have been published.
In 2013 Tim was inducted into the National Eisteddfod Gorsedd (Circle of Bards) for services to the Arts in Wales, and in 2015 was made an Honorary Fellow of Glyndwr University.

 

Oliver Harman

Designer


Oliver Harman is a theatre design graduate from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama (2015), where he achieved a BA (Hons).
Since graduating, he has worked as Set and Costume Designer for The Orator (Theatre West) and realised the design for Bordello, a show part of the Italian SALAMARZANA: Festa Medievale. He was also Production Designer on the music video for 4th Project and their song Taking Me Over (Pixllion).
As well as designing, Oliver has worked as Design Assistant on shows such as The Convert (The Gate Theatre), Sleeping Beauty (The Torch Theatre Company), Yuri (Chapter), and Rosie’s War (Theatr na nÓg). He was also the Design Assistant for the previous seasons of Outliers and Insomnia at The Other Room.

Kevin Heyes

Lighting Designer


Kevin wanted to play in the theatre since being a small chap. In school he was a lucky young lad in that his farther worked in the R.A.F in Germany where they had a large new theatre, which cemented his desire to work in the arts. He has been lighting shows all over the world for many theatre and dance companies, having worked on hundreds of shows in his time. Along the line, he discovered fireworks and the art of making a display and is now an active firework designer all over the north west of England. Finally, Kevin ended up at Theatr Clwyd as Head of Lighting, lighting a large percentage of their shows to thousands of happy theatre lovers. Life is good and it’s a great thing to have a job you enjoy doing every day. Enjoy the show.

Dyfan Jones

Sound Designer

Dyfan trained at Kingston University and The Guildhall School of Music and Drama. He has over 20 years of experience working as a Composer, Musical Director and Sound Designer for Theatre and Television. He scored the popular children’s animation Abadas for CBeebies and sound designed Contractions for which he won the “Best Sound” at the 2015 Wales Theatre Awards.

Theatre includes:  AmedeeTreasure Island (Birmingham Rep), A View from Islington NorthAll That Fall (Out of Joint), Barnbow Canaries (West Yorkshire Playhouse), Travels With My Aunt (Glasgow Citizens), Love & Money (Waking Exploits), Before I Leave (National Theatre of Wales), Crouch, Touch, Pause, Engage (National Theatre of Wales/Out of Joint), InsignificanceCyrano de Bergerac, My People, Little Shop of Horrors, All My Sons, Mimosa, Not About Heroes, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog, Season’s Greetings, Sky Hawk, Rape of the Fair Country, Humbug!, A Feast of Festive FunFlora’s WarThinking Out Loud, Tall TalesFestenGreat Expectations, YesterdayTwilight Tales,Drowned Out, Measure for MeasureA Midsummer Night’s DreamA Toy EpicGrapes of WrathTales from EuropeTales from Small NationsTo Kill a MockingbirdSong of the Earth, Abigail’s PartyHosts of RebeccaThe Way It WasHome FrontOh! What a Lovely War (Theatr Clwyd), Contractions (Iain Goosey/Chapter), Raslas (Bara Caws), Still Life (Mappa Mundi), Seanmhair, PlaySilenceBlasted, A Good Clean Heart (The Other Room), The Ugly Duckling, The Snow Tiger, Corina Pavlova, A Family Affair, Say it with Flowers (Sherman Cymru), Jack and the Beanstalk (Stafford Gatehouse Theatre) and Indian Country (Sgript Cymru).

 

Mike Holden

Company Stage Manager

Mike has had a long and varied career working in fields as diverse as Rock Music, Film, Musical Theatre and Ballet.
On leaving school, Mike’s first job was as a runner in Michael Winner’s office, working on various films including Death Wish. He later went on to a twenty-year appointment as Tour Manager for prog rock legend Rick Wakeman before going on to work for 8 years as Company Stage Manager for Ballet Cymru, the Welsh ballet company.
In between these lengthier appointments, Mike has also tour managed a wide variety of acts including Slade, Mud and Asia to name but a few.

James Seabright

Producer

James Seabright is an Olivier Award winning theatrical producer, general manager and marketing consultant.

Following graduation from Magdalene College, Cambridge in 2001, he was awarded the Stage One producer bursary in 2002 and used it to establish his commercial production company, Seabright Productions, in the West End of London. Currently, James is on the board of the League of Independent Producers, chairs the board of the King’s Head Theatre, sits on the bursary panel of theatrical charity Stage One, is an associate of Wilton’s Music Hall and a member of the Society of London Theatre.

Current productions include a revival of Loot by Joe Orton (Park Theatre, London), Showstopper! The Improvised Musical (Lyric Theatre, London and Panasonic Theatre, Toronto), Not About Heroes (Flying Bridge Theatre co-production, UK tour), King Kong (The Vaults, London), Dad’s Army Radio Hour (Edinburgh Fringe), Trumpageddon (Edinburgh Fringe), Trainspotting (world tour of King’s Head production), Apphia Campbell’s solo show inspired by Nina Simone Black Is The Color Of My Voice (Wilton’s Music Hall and UK tour), Adam Kay’s cabaret show The Remains Of Tom Lehrer (Wilton’s Music Hall and UK tour) and last but not least, William Shakespeare’s Long Lost First Play (abridged) on UK tour with the Reduced Shakespeare Company.

Previous productions include: The Boys In The Band by Mart Crowley (Park & Vaudeville), Our Boys by Jonathan Lewis (Duchess), The Lion by Benjamin Scheuer (St James), Outings (Edinburgh & UK tour), The Only Way Is Downton by Luke Kempner (Trafalgar Studios and UK/American tours), Eric and Little Ern (Vaudeville & UK tour), Potted Sherlock and Potted Pirates (with Dan and Jeff) Bill Hicks: Slight Return by Chas Early and Richard Hurst, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, Oliver Reed: Wild Thing by Rob Crouch and Mike Davis, and solo shows starring David Benson, Simon Callow, Natalie Haynes, Chris Larner, Linda Marlowe, Phil Nichol, Jan Ravens, Hardeep Singh Kohli, Sam Wills and Sarah-Louise Young.

James’ extensive experience as a leading promoter at Edinburgh’s Festival Fringe – the world’s largest arts festival – has seen him produce, promote and manage over 200 shows there across two decades. He speaks regularly on producing to student audiences, including at RADA, the National Film and Television School, TRH Masterclass and TheatreCraft. His book, So You Want to Be a Theatre Producer? was published in 2010 by Nick Hern, and a revised edition was released in 2016.

 

Flying Bridge Theatre

Producer

Flying Bridge Theatre Limited is a Welsh theatre company based in Newport, producing drama of the highest quality for everyone. We want to celebrate, entertain inspire and provoke, everywhere and anywhere. By bringing audiences together to comprehend and empathise through drama, we hope to build bridges, promote social cohesion and build pride in the diversity of language and culture that has made Wales what it is today.

 

UPDATES

  • Theatre Review: Not About Heroes, Theatr Clwyd, Mold

    Theatre Review: Not About Heroes, Theatr Clwyd, Mold

    IN A year’s time their words will resonate as never before, with the commemoration of the end of the First World War.

    In the meantime, their story is being quietly told in a poignant production of Not About Heroes at Clwyd Theatr Cymru (until Nov 11), a story that is full of warmth and anger, of beauty and fear, of nightmares and banter, above all, of friendship.

    It’s about the coincidental meeting of war poets Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen in Caiglockhart War Hospital in Scotland in 1917, both suffering nervous breakdowns after fighting in the trenches. It’s the stuff of legend, how these two damaged individuals helped each other use beautiful language to create terrifying images of warfare.

    The co-prodction between Flying Bridge Theatre Company and Seabright Production, was simply staged: a bed, a desk, bare tree branches, changing blocks of colour, an intimate atmosphere punctuated by the blast of gunfire.

    Daniel Llewelyn-Williams was Sassoon, a war hero decorated for bravery, now so bitterly disillusioned and angry he could barely be polite to the shy Owen, knocking nervously at his door. Sassoon had been locked up to prevent his anti-war diatribes becoming public, and Llewelyn-Williams captured his frustration, anger and cynicism well.

    He was the confident, well-educated, acclaimed poet, while Iestyn Arwel’s Owen had the diffidence of a man whose father was a railwayman in rural Shropshire and who was only just starting to write. So he was the pupil at the start of the friendship, but Sassoon’s casual glances at his scribbling changed as he recognised his talent.

    Arwel then took Owen on a journey, showing his growing confidence in writing that would ultimately produce some of the finest war poetry, including the excoriating Dulce Et Decorum Est. The journey was also back to the trenches. Severely shell-shocked, Owen was  as frightened of cowardice as he was of the guns – so he went. As did Sassoon, unable to sit out the war safely at Craiglockhart.

    The dynamics of this two-hander were fascinating. Some of the poetry was a little lost in performance but this was absorbing, disquieting theatre. For though the two poets spent just a year together, the effects of their liaison, their poetic indictment of the horror, the hyposcrisy, the futility of war, was profound and long-lasting.

    As director Tim Baker, a former Associate Director of Theatr Clwyd, says in the programme notes, this ‘great play’ was ‘a fitting way to recognise the horrific sacrifices made during the First World War whether or not fighting for a just cause, as the play itself questions again and again’.

    By Peggy Woodcock

  • Entertainment South Wales review – Newport Riverfront

    The pair deliver a compelling and educational two-hand performance

    The plays descriptions of doomed youth facing annihilation and wanton destruction are delivered by the actors with such emotional and challenging effect they demand the audience to  sit up and listen.

    Entertainment South Wales

     

    Newport based theatre company, Flying Bridge’ presentation of Stephen MacDonald’s play, Not About Heroes, opened at Newport Riverfront on Thursday.

    Telling the story of the meeting and subsequent friendship of First World War poets Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon, the play tells of how the two poets bonded over a mutual hatred of war and a love of poetry after meeting at Craiglockhart Hospital in 1917.

    Stephen MacDonald’s script, which originally premiered at Edinburgh Fringe in 1982, was recently performed to packed out Fringe audiences by Flying Bridge. As the Riverfront performance proves, the play has never been in safer hands.

    MacDonald’s characterisations of the poets are brought vividly to life by Iestyn Arwel as Wilfred Owen and Daniel Llewellyn Williams as Siegfried Sassoon. The pair deliver a compelling and educational two-hand performance exploring Owen and Sassoon’s relationship as artists, friends and unrequited lovers.

    It’s the feeling that is put into the recitations of Owen and Sassoon’s writings interspersed with the on-going story that give this production further appeal. While Arwel recites Owen’s letters home to his mother, William’s interjects with fragments of Sassoon’s own war poetry. This creates a sense of personalisation with both characters, bringing them and their words to life.

    Both Arwel and Williams successfully peel back the complex layers of both characters who are suffering from the after effects of shellshock. Owen’s Neurasthenia makes way for confidence and strength while Sassoon’s initial brashness and rudeness moves aside to become a caring and mentoring attitude towards his new friend.

    Not About Heroes doesn’t shy away from the horrors of war. Owen and Sassoon were quite vocal about The Great War’s atrocities in their writings decades before protest singers were waxing lyrical on record. The plays descriptions of doomed youth facing annihilation and wanton destruction are delivered by the actors with such emotional and challenging effect they demand the audience to  sit up and listen.

  • Wales Art Review

    Stephen Macdonald’s 1982 play Not About Heroes is what it says; it’s not even about heroism, if the courage needed a century ago to to admit the love that dared not speak its name is the kind of bravery being addressed. The play, a spare two-hander, deals with the relationship between the Great War poets Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon when they were soldiers being treated for shell-shock at Craiglockhart, the Scottish hospital specialising in the treatment of a condition whose name was spoken in only the vaguest of terms short of denoting cowardice. Today, in a semantic triumph as much as a clinical re-focusing, shell-shock has become Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

    On paper, literally, Not About Heroes appears to be a difficult text to enact. Two strands of the relationship are intertwined: the unstinting influence of Sassoon the celebrated poet on Owen, the as yet unknown one; and a friendship rapidly deepening into love. A third intervenes in the shape of soldierly duty and valour. Both men were entre batailles and decorated, the ferociously anti-war, Sassoon returning to the Front to be wounded by ‘friendly fire’, Owen to be killed by a German sniper a week before the Armistice. Other characters are mentioned – Max Beerbohm, Robbie Ross, Robert Graves – to create the Home Front milieu in which the literary reputations of both were swimming, Owen barely in the shallows but with a rate of improvement due almost entirely to Sassoon’s advocacy – and, indeed, his practical mentoring. According to this version, words and phrases in Owen’s first drafts owe their refinements to Sassoon.

    One of the play’s many subtleties unequivocally brought out by the production is the almost rustic innocence of Iestyn Arwel’s Owen, the son of a Shropshire railwayman and his wife (though the son was greedy for education and knowledge). It supported a talent scarcely acknowledged by Owen himself. Daniel Llewelyn Williams’s Sassoon exudes a patrician superiority equally unsuspected by its owner and rarely condescending but hinting at class difference. It keeps the bond grounded and straining against Owen’s unthinking willingness to cut its stays. Passionate letters from Owen, post-mortem, to Sassoon bring the recipient to his sharpened senses and, in reality, were suppressed by Owen’s brother, who was perhaps fearful of consequences more serious than indelicacy or discredit.

    Llewelyn Williams and Arwel have to bring both characters and issues to life almost immediately. There’s barely room for evolution. Doing that for the two poets as individuals for whom valour in the killing-fields seemed almost peripheral if not incidental (Sassoon famously tossed his medals in the river) is high actorly achievement. One wonders if the manifestations of combat shock were not partly related to the anguish of suppressed intimacy. Moreover, Tim Baker’s production resists the play’s temptation to make its subject the writing and polishing of verse, which it could easily have become. He and the two actors instead blend all the themes, leaving the protagonists to remain united in art but eternally divided in outspoken passion. By Macdonald’s account, Owen was the less inhibited in tenderness but the more carelessly imposing as a poet.

    This is the second production by the Newport-based Flying Bridge, inaugurated by Baker and Llewelyn Williams, whose aim is to stage ‘theatre of the highest quality that is truthful, provocative and inspiring’. Even if these virtues resided only in the choice of play they’d be laudable; but there’s every indication that they are also marked by the commitment of the whole company. Choosing Not About Heroes in the centenary year of the Battle of the Somme and as the hundred-year anniversary of the end of the war in 2018 approaches further emphasises an aim to present theatre with contemporary poise and relevance. If two actors and a director do not an ensemble make, the addition of Oliver Harman (designer), Kevin Heyes (lighting), and Dyfan Jones (sound) completes the picture. Each contributes an essential but essentially self-effacing strand to the creation of a taut production.

  • Art Scene In Wales review – Borough Theatre

    Daniel Llewelyn Williams as Sassoon and Iestyn Arwel as Owen are perfect foils‘ Art Scene In Wales

    There are at least two stories going on in Stephen Macdonald’s 35-year-old drama about the Great War and its effect on the poets Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon. One concerns their literary relationship, basically how Owen comes to be the greater poet after learning from the other and being helped by him; and the second deals with an emotional tie, concerning repressed homosexual love. That Sassoon was in deeper denial about the latter than Owen is only part of the tragedy, for it would be years before anything could have come of any sort of open enactment.

    The players in Macdonald’s two-hander thus have to balance these strands and even show how they are intertwined. Owen, as an officer in thrall to Sassoon’s reputation on arrival at Craiglockhart, the Scottish hospital dealing with shell-shocked soldiers (today we call it post-traumatic stress disorder), is never far from  morphing into something far more personal, but it is Sassoon throughout the play who draws back from any physicality with edgy, patrician-like revulsion. Owen is tactile; Sassoon is inhibited.

    Although the play has been revived to mark various First World War anniversaries – the 90th in 2008 of the end of the war, the centenary in 2014 of its declaration – it’s those which commemorate the two poets themselves that are more relevant. In 1986, the centenary of Sassoon’s birth, a new production was staged at the National Theatre; and in 1992, the forthcoming hundred years since the birth of Owen prompted Macdonald to direct a revised version of the play for Glasgow, which was then staged in Shrewsbury, Owen’s home town.

    Daniel Llewelyn Williams as Sassoon and Iestyn Arwel as Owen are perfect foils, judging their double coming-together adroitly, with Williams making us wonder how much Owen’s attraction for him is cerebral, how much sexual-spiritual, and Arwel suggesting ever so slightly that he is as much aware of his potential as he is grateful for Sassoon’s refining of it. This is a complex relationship, not least in terms of Sassoon’s complete lack of wounded pride as his friend quickly occupies the Parnassian heights. Both were valorous in war, Sassoon famously outspoken about its futility and allowing his anger to get to him, Owen seeming to have discovered in conflict and the ‘pity’ of it his vindication as a poet. Owen has nothing to lose in expressing his love, while Sassoon is riddled with doubts about it. At least two battles are going on. Unlike Owen, Sassoon survived the war and therefore his ordeals, coming to some difficult accommodation with the private ones.

    In a way, Macdonald could have written a play about homosexual love in wartime without raising its profile by having as the protagonists a famous literary figure and another who was soon to become one. In terms of the love interest, the literary or any other interest could have been neutral or non-existent. Sassoon didn’t recognise and laud Owen’s fast-emerging talent because he was infatuated with him, nor did Owen confuse Sassoon the established poet with Sassoon the flawless object of his affections. These were literary reputations in fast motion about a slow-evolving, and ultimately doomed, passion.

    The play’s had plenty of exposure since it won an Edinburgh Fringe ‘First’ award in 1982, not least in a production by Theatr Clwyd at Mold three years ago, in which Williams also played Sassoon. Williams’s familiarity with the role may be enabling him to mine its deeper riches, not least the idea that Sassoon’s irascibility was in part prompted by Owen’s under-appreciation – though not total ignorance – of his (Owen’s) gifts, his proximity to greatness. Arwel’s Owen invests that innocence with an almost bucolic dimension. Each outing draws attention to Macdonald’s success in surmounting the drama’s looming pitfall: how to make something moving, in both meanings of the word, about the writing of poetry. The play’s definitely not about heroes, though both characters were heroic, the dispirited Sassoon famously chucking his medals in the river.

    Tim Baker’s focused production and the choice of play have added to an auspicious start for Flying Bridge, a new Gwent-based theatre company, here, with Seabright Productions, putting across the play’s themes clearly. It isn’t over-ambitious or heavy-laden with props and effects, so is ideal for touring to small venues, where its dramatic substance will register all the more forcefully. On tour a company has to adapt to venues of different sizes, and at Abergavenny’s Borough Theatre, where this reviewer saw the production, some of the intimacies could have been more audibly voiced. Oliver Harman’s designs are perfectly circumscribed and concentrated, Kevin Heyes’s lighting and Dyfan Jones’s complementary sound subtle and unobtrusive. This is a company worthy of support in an ever-active Welsh theatre sector.

    September 26, 2017