This is the holy trinity, well acted, well directed and well written. Book your tickets and wait with anticipation for Diary of A Welshcake, a delightfully unique one man show. How many performances instruct the audience to hurl skittles at the actor while someone at the front billows a welsh-flag to complete an interactive dream sequence? Don’t expect slapstick stand-up, but rather, believable storytelling, as if you’ve just met someone with a knack for impressions and been given an intimate account of their life.
To begin we are told to stand for the Welsh national anthem, while the performer bounces around the audience handing out the eponymous welshcakes. We are introduced to a proudly patriotic Welshman who sounds more like ‘Hugh Grant than Hugh Edwards’, (his parents’ choice of school to blame). Gregory Ashton gives a stunningly assured performance as Ralph or Tom the elephant, but throughout the play morphs into a whole cast of off-beat characters.
After realising his life-partner has been sleeping with most of the country, Ralph is single again. He packs up his trunk and leaves to teach English in Hong-Kong, where he becomes Tom, to avoid the fate of forever being referred to as Walph or even Waffles. His homosexuality becomes the proverbial elephant in the room as he fails to tell his students of his sexual identity and then stumbles into a relationship with one of his female pupils – Windy. Names are significant in a piece where cultural identity and sexual orientation take centre-stage. Ralph becomes Tom the Elephant, the three female students take up ‘English’ names Fanny, Hymen and Windy, while the American flatmate Matthew insists on the pronunciation Mattchew.
It is beautifully directed by Soho Theatre’s Steve Marmion – allowing Lesley Ross’s witty script to come into its own, while Ashton’s intimate performance is funny, touching and wildly silly. The trio create something original and thoroughly enjoyable - not to be missed.