Children of Mine (3 stars)

Dark tragedy retold at screaming pitch

comments (1)

This article is from 2013.

Children of Mine

Aberfan, South Wales, 1966: 116 children die when a heap of colliery debris slides downhill and buries Pantglas Junior School. Mark Jermin’s angry theatre piece charts the traumatic 24 hours when tragedy struck, with exceptionally polished performances from nine young Welsh actors, who combine narration, characterisation, singing and movement in an evocative hymn to those lost. They’re extremely well-drilled and bristling with energy, and it’s hard not to be bowled over by the sheer slickness of their delivery.

It’s a shame, then, that their passion wasn’t harnessed in a more imaginative, thoughtful way. We’re told rather than shown the day’s events, too often by the whole group in a relentlessly aggressive unison – so much so that the show feels rather like a staged essay.

The ever-increasing grief is mostly articulated at a screamingly high level of intensity, and there’s plenty of finger-pointing at the responsible parties. Although there are brief moments of poetry and reflection – the physical interludes, though a bit opaque, come as welcome breaks from the surrounding anguish – they’re too few to give the show the light and shade it needs. It’s a sadly missed opportunity, given the commitment and striking abilities of the performers.

Venue 13, 07074 201 313, until 24 Aug (not 12), £8 (£6).

This article is from 2013.

Children of Mine

  • 3 stars

Play about the 1966 Aberfan disaster, when a colliery spoil tip collapsed and buried a local primary school.


1. Diane Cooper11 Aug 2013, 9:25pm Report

Saw the play this afternoon, didn't know what to expect as I was persuaded to go by a young lady from the cast. I assumed it would not be up to much but how wrong was I. It turned out to be a fantastic, powerful piece of theatre that would comfortably grace any stage. How fortunate we are at The Fringe to be able to enjoy these amazing pieces of theatre day in day out. I would urge everyone to see this play and be prepared to be moved by the tragic story superbly played out by a tremendous group of young talented actors. Definately 5 stars.

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