Gareth Evans reviews Contemporary Welsh Plays edited by Tim Price and Kate Wasserberg

Contemporary Welsh Plays

Bloomsbury, £17.99

I first saw Maciej Dakowicz’s photographs in September 2011 when they were featured on the website of the New York Times. They are photographs of Cardiff nightlife, taken during a weekend in the vicinity of St Mary’s Street. The images briefly went viral and were later published in several UK newspapers, with The Daily Mail adding their own characteristically sneering commentary. They are beautiful but complex images, demonstrating a troubling ambivalence towards their subjects: Am I supposed to be appalled, or amused? Is their aim to elicit empathy for figures that sometimes stare back or, more perversely, am I invited to be secretly relieved that at least that fat drunk person in the picture is not me? One of Dakowicz’s photographs is appropriately featured on the cover of Contemporary Welsh Plays. Appropriate because for the most part, as a collection it also left me feeling troublingly ambivalent towards some of its subjects.

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