Written & directed By Rachel Boulton for Motherlode, Exodus offers us hard political questions wrapped in whimsical imaginings. The damage done to individuals and communities by war, politics and capitalism is leavened by the unlikely possibility of escape – we recognise the country is going to hell in a handcart, so come with us and fly away.
Capitalism, Brexit and ageism each get serious, comical consideration as Mary (Gwenllian Higginson) gradually realises her rapid rise in management was due to darker plans. In her monologues, she effectively presents these heavy issues with a light touch to invite plenty of laughs. Moving with her, we can all joyfully invest in Ray’s apparently ridiculous escape plan. Liam Tobin as Ray drives the story with zeal. His mental health may be in a wobble after his experience in Middle Eastern war but his delight in life remains infectious. Is Gareth (Berwyn Pearce) too dim to question the logic of his friend, or does he recognise a savant? Pearce plays Gareth with dogged enthusiasm and some meticulous timing. Then there is glorious Timmy (Karim Bedda) who is so eloquent with his playing and expressive with a deadpan face. David Grubb has composed a haunting violin score which delights without being attributable to a particular musical culture. The company leap around their simple set of boxes and succeed in drawing us into the dream. Emma Vickery should be applauded for movement on a tight stage. In such a small space it can be difficult to catch all the lines as the cast throw themselves into action but strain to catch them all, don’t miss a gem.
Boulton considers the freedom of flight and the beauty of music, using birdsong and violin to celebrate life. This is a seductive fantasy with a subtle, vicious bite of awareness. At 1 hour 20 minutes without an interval, it is a long sit, but I would have no hesitation is booking another (aisle or window?) seat for this escape from the gloom of Aberdare High Street to the brilliance of Argentina. "Here we bloody go!"