As the first person to openly come out in the sporting world, Gareth Thomas’ story is no secret to to the people of Wales and the rest of the rugby world. A collaboration between National Theatre Wales and Out of Joint, Crouch, Touch, Pause, Engage tells two stories in parallel, focusing around Thomas’ life and the events surrounding his decision to come out as gay to his family, his team mates and his fans.
Set in a locker room, which doubles as a hospital, a living room and a bar, the cast of six each takes on the role of Alfie himself through a simple flick of the rugby ball and tells of the ups and downs of his career: from his rise up the ranks to his separation from his wife. Each character comes in to their own, with a brilliantly endearing and funny relationship showcased between the parents and excellent comic timing especially from Lauren Roberts. Alongside the rise to rugby stardom, we are introduced to two young teens growing up back in Thomas’ home in Bridgend, facing tough events in their day to day lives. Despite highlighting their deeply personal yet contrasting situations, it is initially tricky to see the link in the stories but the element of revolving characters allows us to gain a window sil viewing space as the truth unfolds.
A crowd pleaser which evoked a standing ovation lead by Gareth Thomas himself on press night, the production was warming yet humorous throughout. Despite the possibly unnecessary rugby clichés and choreography, the cast bounced off each other well to shed a new light on Alfie’s story in an enjoyable and touching production.
Crouch, Touch, Pause, Engage plays at the Sherman until the end of this week before embarking on tour around Wales and England. For more details and to book tickets, Click here.