The Village Social
The Village Social is a surreal musical comedy touring village halls across Wales. Ben Lewis and Dafydd James, the duo behind award-winning 2009 Edinburgh Fringe show My Name is Sue, have again succeeded in creating a deliciously dark oddball hit with a vigorous, well-chosen cast.
Upon entry to the bunting-bedecked hall, audience members become the villagers of Cae Bach (‘Little Field’). They are given raffle tickets as they take their seats for the local fundraiser - so far so normal - but soon the local performance night begins to unravel with perfectly-pitched awkwardness. There have been some strange goings-on in the village and, as the evening progresses, the cast begins to act increasingly bizarre.
The main attraction is running late, and so the characters fill in by sharing the tales of Cae Bach’s history - feasting and parties in a Celtic other world - centring on their recently burnt down ancient yew tree. Then, during a power cut, the hilarious clairvoyant Madame Isis arrives and points a gnarled finger at each of the characters’ secret desires. Clues to the villagers’ mythical demise are given from the very start, with the singing of their prophetic anthem: “Cae Bach our pride and glory/We live to tell your story/Defend ‘til we are gory/This little field of ours.” And psychotropically gory it gets. After Madame Isis curses the people of Cae Bach, the cast transform into their fun and twisted alter egos releasing absurd costumes, secret passions, bad smells and bloodshed.
If let down by some confusion in the sudden, change of pace ending, this is an otherwise truly inventive, enjoyable piece of musical theatre from two of our rising stars.