Winners (Sherman Theatre)

February 2020

What happens when the thing that brought you together has started pushing you apart? Troubled couple Cassie and Dafydd really need to talk about rugby: why he feels his career is over and she thinks he’s barely getting started. Or, to put it another way, why his priorities in life have started wildly diverging from hers. No wonder he’d rather talk about skirting boards and loft conversions.

Winners is the latest play from the Sherman Theatre’s Get It While It’s Hot platform, designed to showcase emerging talent from across South Wales. And the talent on display tonight is incredible. From a simple set of just two chairs, Winners takes us on an emotional rollercoaster. Lowri Jenkins and Oliver Morgan-Thomas are believable both as a 30-something couple going through a rocky patch and as their teenage selves. Can they rediscover who they were when they first fell in love? The twists and turns of the plot leave us wondering right until the end.

The writing is sharp, packing an emotional punch when it needs to but also bringing plenty of laughs. The set-up of the play cleverly involves the audience without any overt audience participation, so we find ourselves actively willing the couple to resolve their conflict. I won’t reveal what the device is, but it’s no accident that the play is exactly 55 minutes long.

Lowri Jenkins, who plays Cassie, also wrote the play. She experiments with the different meanings that rugby can have for a Welsh person: national identity, social networks, personal pride and more. If you’re reeling from the news that Owen Williams won’t be playing in the rest of the Six Nations, you could do a lot worse than catch the work of a playwright who truly understands you.

Link to original on the Ents South Wales site