Sunday, 13 April 2014

Maudie's Rooms - A #Review

This is the time of realisation.
The time when you thought you understood the boundaries of theatre.
Only to realise how traditional, and simple, and unchallenged your view is.
We followed our map to Cardiff Bay.
We passed the boats, the sea.
And Seren automatically assumed, knowing we were going to the theatre, that our destination was the Millennium Centre.
Only for me to lead her to our meeting point. A bus stop on Bute Street.
And, well, because it is so difficult to translate, this happened:

And Seren, well, Seren was so eager to go on this journey with Arlo Butterworth, and so we headed into- well, into an imagination.
An imagination which is like a carousel.
Of emotions, characters, spirit and energy.
From the Magic Roundabout to Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz, nothing compares to the adventure of being a part of exploring someone's memories and reality.

Maudie's Rooms, is, what I am beginning to understand is, commonplace in today's theatre, it makes so much of talented actors, a variety of characters were brought to life, and not only brought to life, but as you were taken into Arlo's world, so these characters interacted with their guests.
I have no idea where that talent comes from. There is something so intimidating as inviting people into your world, and when those people are not even close friends, and there are so many of them.
Well, obviously this is only my insecurity, because the six actors did nothing to make it seem anything other than the norm.
And Seren was enchanted. As was I.

As we drove home afterwards, Seren and I relived our favourite parts.
Seren got frustrated, there were so many parts we had already mislaid, and so we reminded each other of our favourites. From Solomon, and mummy's memories of Jamaica, and Seren's of the sea side and imagination play with her brothers; to the puppets- and when Seren will be old enough to go to puppetry sessions with mummy; to being pulled from under the bed and doing somersaults.
And the favourite bits- meeting the lovely lady at the bus stop, to whom Seren took a shine; to the Great Arnofini, whom Seren remembers from Wookey Hole (?) so she ably translated for Arlo; to the amazing Miss Sweetpea and Buddy Sprout- who knew Seren's favourite fruit could become so funny?
And then of course, to Sir Titus Spicketts, because baddies can be really... 'bad'. And because Seren was quite worried at one point (it was ok, she protected her mummy and everyone laughed- so it wasn't that scary), but then Sir Titus was very naughty (because he mentioned 'kill' which is never ok) but it all turned ok because he was hit with a fan (I think the papers) and then Maudie sorted it all out.
What can I say?
At 5, Seren definitely didn't get it all, but it was our special time (which is so rare with her siblings), and she enjoyed it enough to make it more than an amazing experience.

For me, not a mummy, Wow!
You know when you see something, and you know it's unique, but you can't help but think there should be so much more theatre like this.
The intricacies of each set, because they weren't sets, they really are rooms.
The talent of actors who can do this, interact and remain so.
To take us further into the world of theatre that makes our own imaginations free.

Seren, of course, will say it best.

And just for the practicalities, it was 1hr 25 mins (approx.) in duration with no interval. There are local facilities available, and for some reason Seren was organised enough to make use of the Millennium Centre in advance (Ssssshhh!). It was wheelchair accessible, and there was seating available throughout.
It's recommended for ages 7+, and whilst Seren and I had an incredible evening, I would imagine at 7 years old, a child will understand so much more than Seren.

And. For the record. It was incredible. Fantastic. Inspiring, Imaginative. Immense.

Maudie's Rooms is running from the 11th-26th April as a co-production between Roar Ensemble and Sherman Cymru.

Disclosure: We received two tickets for 'Maudie's Rooms'. All views and opinions contained are our own.


  1. This sounds like a perfect show for developing a child's imagination. Wow! So glad you were both 'enchanted', a lovely experience :)

  2. It sounds very intriguing and quirky, and lovely to find something enjoyable for kids and parents alike.

  3. Sounds like something me and Boo would really enjoy. Too bad it's nowhere near us!

  4. Ooh that sounds great, I'd love to take my girls to something like that :)

  5. Sounds like you had a great time, priceless:)

  6. That sounds incredibly interesting, I'm glad it was such a good experience, it really does sound wonderful x

  7. I love live theatre, it's such a great experince and so good that this one is suitable for children and adults, as other than panto they usually aren't.

  8. A bit long for a 5 years old, but at least you had a lovely just the two of you time ;-)


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