Welsh wit, wistfulness and wisdom open fest
Are you a river or are you a rock? A touring Welsh musical comedy troupe will ask this question when it performs at Mangatainoka’s Tui Brewery this week.
Hiraeth, a Welsh word for deep unremitting unrequited longing, loss and bitter-sweet desire, is a musical play created by Buddug James Jones, Max Mackintosh and Jesse Briton – who has directed the piece.
A hit at the recent Christchurch Arts Festival, a review in the Dom-Post of the production’s Wellington season called it a ‘‘fascinating, must-be-seen show’’.
On Friday, Hiraeth opens Wairarapa’s Kokomai (Maori for Take Flight) Creative Festival – the first of more than 60 music, theatre, dance, film, literary and visual arts events that run the length and breadth of the region until October 25.
This autobiographical tale is based on Buddug’s own life. Growing up in a small agricultural community in west Wales, she decides that farming is not for her. Desperate to leave her rural roots, Bud wrestles with the knowledge that when she departs, it will mean the end of the farm that has been in her family for five generations.
To uni first and then beyond, Bud learns that the reality of living and making it in the big smoke is not quite what she had imagined.
With Bud playing herself, Max makes the most of his versatility and comic timing as her assorted relations, boyfriends, and others as well as the guitar. Musician David Grubb adds an affecting fiddle and mandolin while performing a variety of support roles.
So, not only is there live music and laughter, there is also some audience participation and warm welsh cakes, as Hiraeth explores the decline of Welsh tradition and identity.
These are themes that will resonate with any rurally-raised New Zealanders caught between the desire to escape the farm, and the feelings of guilt and responsibility for those they leave behind.
Audience members are invited to finish off the entertaining show with a good oldfashioned twmpath or barn dance.
Welsh actors Buddog James Jones and Max Mackintosh are bringing their musical play Hiraeth, to the Kokomai Creative Festival in Wairarapa and are performing at Tui Brewery, Mangatainoka on Friday night October 16,