Cardiff is not short of gutsy performances lately and National Theatre of Scotland’s visit to the Sherman this week was definitely that. Gutsy, proud and full of heart, In Time O’ Strife had it’s audience gripped from the first bars of the opening song.
30 years on from the Miners Strike of ’84, the Scots have revisited Joe Corrie’s classic play, which focuses on the struggle of a mining community after over six months of strike action. Entering the auditorium at the Sherman to a live band (who remain on stage for the entire performance) playing folk songs, we are welcomed in to the lives of those on the stage which doubles as both a community centre and a living room.
Each character’s life entwines with another, and another, and the demise of the community in a time of starvation and despair soon becomes apparent. Each one is individually relatable to, coping with their struggle in their own way: whether it be through alcohol, attempts to flee or emotional breakdown. With bursts of passion and energy demonstrated through strongly choreographed ensemble movements, the band come to life throughout the narrative, illustrating the emotion from the poems in the original play. Although the script itself may have been lacking a little punch, the movement and live punk-folk music combined powerfully to really nail home the frustration and emotion of the close-knit community.
National Theatre of Scotland have proved that despite ending with a bitter and desperate rendition of ‘The Red Flag’, history definitely needed to be retold and the creative team have done so in style. Full of power, energy and passion, In Time O’ Strife is a beautiful and moving production, gaining a well deserved standing ovation at the Sherman Theatre.