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Wales' national theatre companies team up on Petula tour

The multilingual production will be directed by Mathilde Lopez

Artwork for Petula

Wales' two national theatre companies, National Theatre Wales and Theatr Genedlaethol Cymru, will join forces next year on a multilingual production of French playwright Fabrice Melquiot's Petula.

Directed by Mathilde Lopez, the script by Daf James will mix Welsh, English and French.

The play, which is being produced with Lopez's company August012, is billed as "An unforgettable and surreal mix of dark comedy and adventure. A visual feast about relationships, language and love."

The story follows teenager Pwdin Evans who is pushed to breaking point by his parents, step-parents and the weight of his teenage worries. He escapes by launching himself into space in search of answers and his missing cousin, Petula.

Dewi Wykes will play the role of Pwdin while soul-folk jazz singer Kizzy Crawford will play Petula alongside Tom Mumford, Sion Pritchard, Clêr Stephens and Rachel Summers as the parents and step-parents.

Mathilde Lopez has previously directed Rachel Trezise's Tonypandemonium for National Theatre Wales and will be reuniting with theatre designer Jean Chan on Petula. She was also part of the team behind Roald Dahl's City of the Unexpected on the streets of Cardiff in 2016.

"I am thrilled to delve into the incredible world of Melquiot with such a brilliant team of actors and theatre makers and wrestle with the magic and horror of teenage years," she said. "What a joy to be allowed to explore these fragile times in all their beauty, absurdity and complexity with the full trust and support of National Theatre Wales and Theatr Genedlaethol."

Petula will tour Wales in spring 2022, opening at the Sherman Theatre, Cardiff from 14 to 19 March before visiting Aberystwyth, Bangor, Llanelli, Milford Haven, Newport and Brecon.

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