Theater Review: Talking Wales: Finding Sir Formidor | Buzz Blog

Friday, April 23, 2010

Theater Review: Talking Wales: Finding Sir Formidor

Posted By on April 23, 2010, 11:32 AM

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At one point during the second of four monologues that makes up Utah Contemporary Theatre’s production of Mike Dorrell’s Talking Wales: Finding Sir Formidor, a character prepares to relate a memory about a 20-years-gone romantic interlude. ---The relish with which he begins to tell the tale says everything about the power of storytelling that is captured so affectionately here.

While the four characters only appear on stage individually, their stories are deeply connected. Katie Winn (Brenda Sue Cowley), an American actress, has retired into seclusion and spent 10 years on a Welsh farm, creating a second career as an author of science-fiction novels. Carole (Krystal Kennedy) arrives on Katie’s doorstep claiming to be the daughter Katie gave up for adoption 20 years earlier. David Davies (Tobin Atkinson), Katie’s neighbor, is a bachelor farmer who may be infatuated with both Katie and Carole. And Edward Selwyn (Dan Larrinaga) is the local detective inspector, looking into the possible connection between a headless body discovered in the vicinity and the missing ex-musician who may be Carole’s father.

Staged by director Anne Stewart Mark in an intimate chair-and-table setup in the Rose Wagner Center’s Black Box Theatre, the individual monologues are all entertaining. While all the performances are solid, by far the best of the lot is Atkinson, who fully inhabits Davies as both curmudgeon and unlikely ladies’ man.

Yet Dorrell’s work comes together as another celebration of his homeland’s love of a good story, and not just through those the characters tell to us. The titular knight is the protagonist of Katie’s book series: an insect-like warrior fighting in a post-apocalyptic world against evil. Dorrell and the performers treat this potentially silly genre concept with affection and respect, recognizing the way people craft heroic narratives about their own lives. These people find Sir Formidor in themselves in a variety of ways—and we get to find the pleasures of theatrical storytelling in them.

Talking Wales: Finding Sir Formidor @ Rose Wagner Center Black Box Theatre, 138 W. 300 South, 801-886-3019, April 21-23, 7:30 p.m. & April 24, 2 p.m. & 7:30 p.m. Limited free seating with reservation.

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