Land of Our Fathers

Theatre , Drama
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 out of 5 stars
(2 user reviews)
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 (© Flavia Fraser-Cannon)
© Flavia Fraser-Cannon

Taylor Jay-Davies (Chewy) and Patrick Brennan (Chopper)

 (© Flavia Fraser-Cannon)
© Flavia Fraser-Cannon

Clive Merrison (Bomber)

 (© Flavia Fraser-Cannon)
© Flavia Fraser-Cannon

Kyle Rees (Curly)

 (© Flavia Fraser-Cannon)
© Flavia Fraser-Cannon

Patrick Brennan (Chopper) and Joshua Price (Mostyn)

 (© Flavia Fraser-Cannon)
© Flavia Fraser-Cannon

Taylor Jay-Davies (Chewy) and Joshua Price (Mostyn)

A stunning debut play from Chris Urch about a group of trapped miners

This review is of 'Land of Our Fathers's original 2014 run at Theatre 503

This is soul-searching, soul-scorching stuff. Margaret Thatcher is on the cusp of power and somewhere deep down a coalmine in Wales, six men are trapped. Will these miners escape or has the world above forgotten them completely?

Theatre503 has found a special talent in Chris Urch. ‘Land of Our Fathers’ is a blisteringly good debut; witty, smart, brilliantly textured and paced. The dialogue is packed with dirty humour (‘Think of all the potential fanny!’), but also punctuated with instinctive acts of kindness.

Paul Robinson allows the drama to swell gradually amid Signe Beckmann’s cramped and coal-drenched set. The space seems to shrink as the snap crackle humour of the early scenes builds into a screeching fear and rage.

The actors shine – but they’d be fools not to, given this gift of a script. Clive Merrison oozes a crusty grace as Bomber, the reluctant father of the group. Paul Prescott’s Hovis possesses an incredible sunken dignity, which suggests a life of untold hardship. Patrick Brennan’s deputy, Chopper, is thunderingly tough and, when his breakdown comes, it feels like the walls will fall in.

Kyle Rees plays big brother Curly, who is later afflicted by a terrible nightmare. Chicken carcasses burn, moths carpet the ceilings, the sky is painted crayon black and a fat cat squeals in the distance. The fate of these miners may not have been decided yet – but the future looks scary as hell.

By Miriam Gillinson


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1 person listening

This play was one of the best I've seen so far in 2016. Every word was relevant, the setting was fantastic and the venue complimented everything about it as it felt so hidden and tucked away, exactly like a mine. Every single one of the actors excelled and it was even more exciting to meet them and chat with them at the bar after!! When it wasn't leaving you laughing, it was leaving you taken back (but also laughing) by the foul language or really touched by the relationships these men had and the twist at the end. You want one of the characters to pull through and step up to the mark a bit more, but he doesn't, and it's sad. The loss of one of the men was also very sad to watch, but a gentle reminder that this used to often happen. Hopefully this comes back for another run as more people need to see it!

Corrine E

I was so glad to get to see this play. Set in a South Wales coal mine, this venue is small and suits the theme. Dark, with dripping water at the end, the actors are both funny and irreverent (disguising affection and fear). I love to hear Welsh singing (half Welsh myself) They sing at any sign of dispair or tragedy. And at joy and cultural events. No one does it better. No self pity. The same with the characters, each one reveals a hidden secret or strength. Survival or death depends on a moral choice. A great play. ps. I do wish that woman in the front row had more respect and not taken out her phone. The screen lit up her stupid face. In a coal mine.