Review: Anthem, Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff

Rachel Howells visits Wales Millennium Centre to review the new Welsh musical comedy, Anthem written by Llinos Mai.

Walking into Wales Millennium Centre’s Weston studio, we are dazzled by a bright vibrant set that would not look out of place on a Saturday night TV talent show. Tonight, however we are here to watch Anthem, a brand new, original, Welsh musical comedy written by Llinos Mai that follows the nation’s largest television singing competition.

The musical comedy follows the filming of Anthem’s live final featuring four acts. As we get to know the story behind each of the competitors, we learn the different reasons why they want to do well in the competition.  

Anthem is gloriously funny and we found ourselves laughing constantly while delighting in the many quirks of Welsh culture like “drysau Paviliwn yn cau” and being stuck in traffic in Mid Wales. 

As the show moves closer to its start time you notice Gwydion Rhys (Tudur) and Leilah Hughes (Megs) moving around, preparing the set for the live show.  Gwydion Rhys shines as Tudur the host of the show trying to hold the show together as everything is crumbling around him.  Bringing together elements of some of Britain best-known TV presenters.   Leilah Hughes plays Megs and has us all laughing because she a runner who is thrown in at the deep end to work on the technical desk when the team is stuck in traffic.

Of the competitors, Iestyn Arwel stole the show as Leon, a former professional rugby player with a beautiful voice.  I really enjoyed the performances of Lily Beau Conway and Gareth Ellis as the twins who are Eisteddfod veterans not quite on the same page for this performance on Anthem.

The versatile set is transformed from the bright extravagantly lit TV studio, dressing rooms, Green Room and the roof of the Wales Millennium Centre.

A wonderful evening filled with laughter and songs!

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