A Good Clean Heart

Edfest Bouquets 2016




It’s been another amazing August for us at Bouquets & Brickbats. We’re exhausted after a month of non-stop theatre and comedy! We have seen some absolutely fantastic stuff, covering a huge range of ideas. Here’s our pick of the best we’ve seen at this year’s Fringe:

Drama Bouquets

  1. Neontopia / Wales Millennium Centre – A Good Clean Heart by Alun Saunders
  2. Aurora Nova – The Blind Date Project by Bojana Novakovic
  3. Rainbow Class by Vivienne Acheampong
  4. Gaggle Babble / National Theatre Wales – Wonderman by Daf James
  5. Something for the Weekend – Royal Vauxhall by Desmond O’Connor

Monologue Bouquets

  1. NJC Productions – The Way the City Ate the Stars by Will Greenway
  2. George Dillon – Stunning the Punters (& Other Stories) by Berkoff, Sproat and Dostoevsky
  3. Lorenzo Novani – Cracked Tiles by Lorenzo Novani
  4. Impi Theatre Company – The South Afreakins by Robyn Paterson
  5. Berk’s Nest – Vaudeville by Tom Neenan

Stand-up Comedy Bouquets

  1. Bridget Christie – Mortal
  2. Sarah Kendall – Shaken 
  3. Loyiso Gola – Dude, Where’s My Lion?
  4. Garrett Millerick – The Dreams Stuff is Made Of
  5. John Robertson – Arena Spectacular

‘Ones to Watch Out For’ Bouquets

  1. Phosporos Theatre – Dear Home Office
  2. Chris Dugdale – Full Circle
  3. Flabbergast Theatre – Tatterdemalion
  4. Teateri – Evil by Jesper Arin
  5. Amy Howerska – Smashcat

A Good Clean Heart



Underbelly Cowgate, Edinburgh

A Good Clean Heart by Alun Saunders is a bilingual play, told half in English and half in Welsh (subtitles in both languages are projected onto the front of a bus stop, perfectly integrated into a dazzling, at times frenetic, multi-media collage).

It’s Hefin (James Ifan)’s eighteenth birthday, and his adoptive parents , Gwilym and Ros, give him an envelope. It’s a letter from a brother he’s long forgotten; they were separated by social services when Hefin was very small. And Jay (Oliver Wellington) has always wanted to reconnect with the little boy he was so heartbroken to lose.

They’ve both got problems; Hefin’s angry outbursts cause him trouble at home and at school, and Jay is tagged and under curfew after spending months in gaol. And, when they meet, things start to get very complicated indeed.

I loved this play; both performances are exemplary, and Mared Swain’s lively direction makes for an exciting, kinetic production, which never loses pace.

The writing is sympathetic; this isn’t a judgemental play. Hefin, Jay, Raymande, Ros and Reann: they’re all badly flawed, but they’ll be okay. They’re real. They’re just doing their best to get along.

And this is a wonderful, heart-warming production.

5 stars

Susan Singfield