I first met the Harri-Parri’s a couple of years ago at Sherman Cymru, my introduction to proper laughter in the theatre- as in laughter that makes your cheekbones ache- The Leaving Do definitely held a place of fondness, and has been a mystical place in my memory- could it really have been that funny?
Cue three years, and CM’s FG (Fairy Godmother) and I have had a few more great night outs, most recently we saw Blasted at The Other Room and A View from the Bridge as part of NT Live. We agreed we needed something lighter for our next outing.
And so, snapping up tickets from the sell-out visit to Chapter by the Harri-Parri’s was to prove a good tonic.
It was the usual conversation with the hubby before I left home of “So where are you going tonight?”, as I regaled him with my excitement I felt a little reservation. What if it wasn’t as funny as I remembered? What if I just didn’t get it?
And yet, being back in Llanllai was just like sitting in Henry’s catching up with the girls. Immediately at ease, laughing out loud so much. Thinking at one point “I think I’ve laughed enough now, I’ll stop”. Which lasted the whole of a minute.
It is impossible to not laugh. As I type it is necessary to compress a laugh, the ‘everything’ humour of each character.
For whatever reason, Mrs Harri-Parri’s reminded me soooo much of the mum of a primary school friend, and now thinking of her response to carrot cake and the WI makes me chortle.
Because this is the thing. It is, whether you are from West Wales or not, completely relevant.
Maybe not so much where speaking bi-lingually is concerned, but after this evening I sense many are more confident in translating.
‘The Big Day’ is more the return than the escape, introducing the Mancunian Ben to the family fold.
And what a family. Of course Ifan reminds me completely of my older brother, and I know not why. But (again stopping the snigger as I recall “My milkshake brings all the girls to the yard” ever being incorporated the performance) there are just mannerisms which are unmistakable.
And because I’ve just wasted five minutes trying to remember the name of B & E’s best friend’s little brother, which it seems not only can I never remember how to pronounce on a daily basis (so I was going to give it as an example) but I can’t even remember it… it sounds like Gwion… and is as good as getting at the moment. But yes, Ifan.
And so, back to Llanllai, how many white lies can unravel in the space of an evening? It seems when introducing your vegetarian, band-member, English fiance to your very Welsh farming family, quite a few. Especially if you want to throw traditional costume, home-brew, pig slaughter-in the downstairs bathroom, and carrot cake into the mix.
But that does make it seem a little dramatic.
The script, the music, the dancing.
Nothing writes as well as seeing this.
Nothing I can write will convey that laughter, contained laughter, and snorting with laughter is just path of the course.
It was more funny than I remember.
At a time when I need laughter for more reason than scripted drama, I am reminded that laughter is good for the soul and if unintended health benefit, a good workout as my cheek muscles haven’t been as well exercised since ‘The Leaving Do’.
The five strong cast were awesome, Llinos Mai as writer and actress, how??
If Shakespeare was writing today I reckon he’d rewrite Twelfth Night as:
“If music be the food of love, play on;
If laughter be a therapy of mind, get and see the Harri-Parri’s.”
Directed by Owen Lewis
Designed by Jenny Lee
Mai Oh Mai Productions