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Home / Cultural Events / Sherman Theatre / Maudie’s Rooms, Roar Ensemble/Sherman Cymru, Cardiff Bay

Maudie’s Rooms, Roar Ensemble/Sherman Cymru, Cardiff Bay

Meet at a bus stop in Cardiff Bay at 7pm on a Friday night? With two seven-year-olds in tow? There’s nothing to mistrust there when you know its for a production by Roar Ensemble with Sherman Cymru.

The theatre group is known for work that captures childhood imagination in the most creative of ways, and this latest – Maudie’s Rooms – is no exception.

Those who have map-read their way to the bus stop are whisked up in an interactive adventure which has touches of Alice in Wonderland as the bus-stop crowd is ushered into one of those once-grand, faded Bay buildings by Arlo Butterworth (Adam Fuller), the groom who is about to be plunged back into his childhood memory bank and a whole lot of family strife.

The fascinating decor inside lays scene to a playground of fairground props and with a bear stood tall in the corner, one can’t help wonder if the artistic creator Louise Osborn has read John Irving’s Hotel New Hampshire.

It is a world of engaging make believe, yes, as we meet Miss Sweetpea (Hannah McPake) in her rather outrageous costume and Cardiff hardman-in-a box Buddy Sprout (Katy Owen), with rather clever touches and humour.

Solmon (Anthony Correa), the man who came ashore to share his stories with landlady Maudie (Julie Barclay), actively encourages a young, quite OCD Arlo (Owen again) to engage in this world of make believe.

But there is poignancy too, for Solomon’s tale also reflects racism, and as the audience moves to a darkened, dingy room, lodger Teppo Kollowitz (Adam Redmore) tells of anti-semitism with the aid of the whispering puppet twins, adorned with telling gold stars.

The scene-setting and set design is impressive. In fairy-tale fashion there are the obvious baddies, and the message is that no matter what the hardship faced, face up to it and the good will win through. The children were scared at times in that thrilling eyes-wide-open way. There was just so much to see and take in. For creativity and setting imagination alight, it was first class.

Showing twice a day until April 26.