For Once at the Sherman Cymru

Monday 20 February 2012, 12:05

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The Sherman Theatre in Cardiff's long-awaited relaunch season continues apace this week with the opening of a new play by an acclaimed young Welsh playwright.

Sid (Jonathan Smith) and Gordon (Patrick Driver) in For Once. Photo: Robert Day

Sid (Jonathan Smith) and Gordon (Patrick Driver) in For Once. Photo: Robert Day

For Once is a dark comedy by Tim Price, one of the founder members of the Dirty Protest theatre company.

Set in a small picture postcard market town on the Welsh borders, it focuses on the emotional upheaval after a car crash in a country lane kills three local teenage friends.

For Once is a family drama which revolves around three interweaving monologues by the young survivor of the crash, Sid, who was blinded in one eye during the accident, and his parents April and Gordon. And in this idyllic setting everything is not quite as it seems.

The horror of what has happened exposes cracks and divisions in the family unit which pre-existed this tragedy. But the tensions also provide the opportunity for plenty of comedy in an exploration of the terse relationship between any adolescent and his parents.

The kitchen sink drama also offers an insight into why teenagers, and adults, living in such places might be inspired to seek their thrills elsewhere.

For Once premièred in Hampstead last summer and scooped four star reviews from Time Out, The Evening Standard and the Financial Times. It is directed by Orla O'Loughlin, the newly appointed artistic director of Traverse Theatre Edinburgh.

The premise for the play evolved out of one of the Ludlow-based Pentabus Theatre's writers' weeks as a 10-minute exercise, but was inspired by time Price spent in a similar market town and the young people he met there.

Image taken from For Once. Photo: Robert Day

Image taken from For Once. Photo: Robert Day

Orla O'Loughlin said: "During these weeks we invite writers to come and explore a local issue with us.

"These have found us, among other things, out in the wilds following a fox hunt, witnessing life in an abattoir and working shifts in a Michelin-starred kitchen."

For Once will be performed at Sherman Cymru from Thursday 23 February to Saturday 3 March at 8pm before embarking on a short tour which will include the Torch Theatre in Milford Haven on 20-21 March.

The cast features Jonathan Smith as Sid, Geraldine Alexander as his mother April and Patrick Driver as his father Gordon. All three starred in the original run in London.

Jonathan Smith as Sid in For Once. Photo: Robert Day

Jonathan Smith as Sid in For Once. Photo: Robert Day

Price's work will soon return to his native Wales when his other play, The Radicalisation of Bradley Manning is produced by National Theatre Wales in April.

Tickets for For Once at the Sherman Cymru are £14 and under 25s can receive up to 50% off their tickets.

For further information and tickets, please contact Sherman Cymru's Ticket Office on 029 2064 6900 or visit There will be post-show talk on 28 February.

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