Deviser: Jill Dowse
Director: Emily Ayres
Reviewer: Jacqui Onions
In Lady Gogo Goch, Sam Fox creates a variety of Welsh ladies, with the inspiration for these characters coming from everywhere from history to traditions, real life to song. Using a mixture of music (much of which is ably performed live by Ricardo Rocha), song, poetry and prose in their creation, the clarity of these characters is rather hit and miss. Lady Rebecca and the section exploring the Rebecca Riots is a real highlight of the piece with Fox brilliantly capturing the passion of the rioters and drawing the audience in with this. The depiction of old woman, Lady Cydweli, is a lovely contrast to Lady Llanover (who is unfortunately rather forgettable) and particularly cleverly characterised since the same costume is used for both of these ladies. Lady Bassey is a slightly odd choice of character to tackle since Shirley Bassey is already impersonated and parodied so much and this production does not present anything original or particularly funny. Some of the other ladies, such as Lady Draig (dragon) and the title character of Lady Gogo Goch are a little more abstract, making the point of their sections harder to find.
The soundscape for the whole piece is interesting and effective. Rocha is clearly a very talented musician and Fox has a fantastic singing voice. Many of the effects used are created using a loop station and, although vaguely interesting to watch and hear the loops being put together the first time, it does not really add anything to the performance and much of this could be done with pre-recorded backing tracks, saving time and keep interest levels up. With a mix of non-verbal, Welsh language and English language sections, the idea is to appeal to Welsh-speakers, English-speakers and speakers of neither language, however a basic knowledge of both languages used is advantageous to follow this piece and its characters fully.
Cath Cullinane’s lighting design is stunning and compliments each of the characters beautifully. Fox begins the piece in traditional Welsh costume and the lighting takes full advantage of the imposing silhouette of the Welsh hat, then in the blink of an eye the audience is transported to the world of Lady Bassey and a glamorous ballroom, bathed in purple with a dazzling glitter ball.
Although there are some great moments, overall Lady Gogo Goch is slow and lacks purpose.
Reviewed on Monday 31st March 2014