The Real Valleys – Dirty Protest Theatre

Cardiff’s coolest hostel welcomed students and backpackers from across the world to its reception this Thursday (25/10) while wannabe valleys hit men, reality stars and MTV producers took over the packed out basement venue below.

Through six original plays from Valleys play-writes, the Bunkhouse audience was treated to a mixture of heartfelt reflections of the place, black humour and a merciless, razor-sharp satire of the MTV production team. The send ups that got the biggest laughs were actual quotes from MTV staff overheard whilst recruiting for the show. As Tim Price explained whilst kicking off the evening, after the shock of hearing this nonsense whilst sat in the same hotel as MTV: ‘I did what any self-respecting Valleys boy would do – I tweeted the f**k out of them.’

Dirty Protest Theatre helped to prove that sometimes there is simply no need to bend the truth for comedy – MTV are actually that banal and annoying. Among some of the searching questions the London production team asked was: ‘Do you ever like do anything totally random?’

Make no mistake, this would have been tough viewing if you have made a living out of patronising the Valleys for the last few months. Armed with a real life take on their home, the writers and actors brought to life our ability to laugh at ourselves with the unique absurdities that life in the Valleys throws up. MTV have made few people from the area laugh for three main reasons i) ‘The Valleys’ isn’t funny ii) The producers are hopelessly clueless about the place and iii) ‘The Valleys’ isn’t funny!

With a deranged barmaid turned police informant and a murderous pet snake amongst other characters, these short plays proved just how rich a source the place is for stories, art, music and so much more. Just like Ron Berry, Idris Davies and the Manic Street Preachers, this generation of young play-writes will help define how we think about the Valleys long after MTV’s cheap shot has been confined to the landfill of scripted reality TV. The whole affair was made all the better by Dirty Protest’s promise to donate 5% of the takings from the show to Valleys Kids echoing our petition:

In the poignant closing play of the night, a fictional reality star returning home was given a powerful message from an old school friend to sum things up: ‘You’re better than that’.

Here is some more info on the project, the writers and Dirty Protest Theatre:


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