You could almost feel a sense of joy and relief at last night’s performance of ANTHEM in the Weston Studio at the Wales Millennium Centre. It was the companies chance to show off this brand new production, from an amazing creative team including author LLINOS MAI, who has co-composed the songs and music with DAN LAWRENCE. ALICE EKLUND is directing and ROGER WILLIAMS is dramatist.

This should have premiered back in March but due to Covid within the company, all performances of the show had to be postponed till now. The good news is, everyone is healthy, the show is back on track and we can tell you that it was more than worth the wait.

It’s always difficult with a new piece, especially for me as it is in Welsh, and I don’t speak the language. But actually, for the sake of this review, that’s a good thing. I shared my visit with the majority of the audience who spoke Welsh and I can tell you we all laughed and were engrossed in the story at precisely the same time.

There are surtitles and creative captioning shown on screens around the studio but I found myself relying on them less and less and watching the actors perform was enough to keep me engrossed.

The cast of Anthem (Photo: Johan Persson)

So, what is ANTHEM all about?

I want to say it’s a play, or musical but actually, it’s much more than that. We are in the studio for the live final of the nation’s biggest singing competition (Anthem). We follow each of the finalists, who come from every corner of Wales, to compete for the title, honour and a shot at fame and fortune. It may be fictitious but boy it felt mighty real in places, especially with some of the antics we have witnessed on these TV talent shows over the year.

It is hilarious, but also musically brilliant. The songs are catchy and memorable, and bizarrely, I found myself singing along to the songs, in Welsh.

Everything you want in a TV Talent show is there – wind machines, Twitter cat-fights, the host of the show Tudur (GWYDION RHYS) and the obligatory musical key changes.

Just a note on the TV presenter Tudur, he is on the set before the show begins, like he was preparing for the start of the live TV show, it was a nice touch, even the part when he jokingly told me off for holding my phone.

Leon (LESTYN ARWEL) represents the South region in the competition. Esyllt (LILY BEAU CONWAY) is one half of Anthem’s brother-sister duo who represent the West region in the final with Eifion (GARETH ELIS), the other half of the brother-sister duo from West Wales. Teleri (RHIAN MORGAN), is the Anthem finalist representing the East region in the competition. And Gerard (RHYS AP TREFOR), the Anthem finalist representing the North region.

Finally there’s Megs (LEILAH HUGHES), an inexperienced production assistant who gets pulled in last-minute to work on Anthem. Swansea girl Leilah trained with Mark Jermin and we have a feature on his studio HERE.

After the show we had a chat with the newest member of the cast, Gareth Elis and some of the audience members, who clearly enjoyed this new home-grown production.


The first thing you’ll notice when you go into the Weston Studio is how big and lavish the set is, it really does feel talent show like. The use of screens and TV countdown clocks is effective and helps to keep you immersed in the story.

At the end of the day though it is a musical comedy and it ticks all those boxes, and more. The cast are excellent live and the on-screen video stories they play throughout the ‘TV Show‘ are hilarious, particularly Leon’s which included some nice video at Dragon’s Rugby where he played.

The show is 90 minutes, start to finish, without any interval. With it’s loving lampooning of S4C, and references to all things great about this country of ours, I can highly recommend a visit to the Wales Millennium Centre to see it.

If you’re concerned about the language/surtitle thing, don’t be. I had no trouble following the story both on stage and screen. In fact, I came out of the studio with a renewed enthusiasm to learn the language.

ANTHEM is at the the Wales Millennium Centre in the Weston Studio right now, running through to Saturday 30th July. Evening performances are at 8pm, with a 2:30pm show on both Saturdays and this Sunday too. For more information and tickets go HERE.

You can see our original preview of the show HERE.