It has become somewhat of a running joke that I am simply trying to add as many titles before and after my name. This started as a joke between friends where I argued that I have technically won three BAFTA awards (due to my performance in three BAFTA award winner shows namely Sex education, Judge Riner and Lorraine) and the fact that at one point you could purchase images of me online where I was once referred to as a TV personality. These accolades on top of my academic achievements mean that I could justifiably refer to myself as a 3x BAFTA award winner, TV personality and international review Rhys Payne BA and if you have spent pretty much any time with me then you will know that I have this speech dedicated to memory at this point! However, I should also add that I am also technically a Guinness world record holder as I took part in the largest synchronised tap dance performance organised by the wonderful rhythm tap Cardiff who are based in Chapter arts centre. Obviously, lockdown was difficult for many businesses but we were devastated when the discussion around the permanent closure of Chapter reared it’s ugly head! This centre is not only the home of rhythm tap Cardiff and many other local theatre companies but also has incredible food/drink and a series of comfy cinema screens to enjoy the latest screenings. As the world seems to be over the struggles of the global lockdowns, we just wanted to offer a gentle reminder for people to continue to support local music venues as these are some of the businesses that have been hard for the last two years.
With all this considered you can imagine our excitement when it was announced that BAFTA Cymru would be beginning to reintroduce events at Chapter arts centre! The last event we attended was all the way back in January 2020 which was to watch the premiere episode of the Welsh filmed, Netflix original Sex Education (which I actually appeared in!) which you can read all about at https://rhysreviews.com/2020/01/16/sex-education-season-two-advance-screening/. Before covid (or a time we are going to refer to as BC) we were invited to a plethora of preview screenings of new tv shows and movies by BAFTA Cymru due to being a member of there amazing programme which also entitled members free cinema in most cinemas between Monday and Thursday. This membership is perfect for any young people looking to get in the entertainment industry as every event has ample opportunity to network with famous faces, professionals and other BAFTA members. After this event, there was a drinks reception which was a perfect opportunity to get to know the plethora of people in the audience. In fact, after this preview screening, I was able to chat with the cast of the show especially Eve Myles who is probably best well known for her roles on Torchwood, Keeping Faith and Broadchurch! I was lucky enough to get a fabulous photo with this Welsh icon which I would not have been able to do so if I had not been invited by BAFTA to this event!
This event was the Welsh premier of the brand new season of “We Hunt Together” which, just like Sex education, was filmed across cities in Wales. The shift from filming in London (as per season one) to Cardiff went over particularly well with the Welsh audience as we could identify them as familiar places even though through they were supposed to be mysterious London locations. For those who have not seen season one of this BBC studio show, We Hunt together stars Eve Myles and Babou Cessay, who play Ds Lola Franks and Di Jackson Mendy respectively, who are the classic good cop bad cop relationship. Jackson is your super approachable, friendly officer who is trying to overcome the issues with the police force from behind the scenes whereas Lola is much more aggressive and direct person. The sharp contrast between these two characters provides many of the hilarious moments in the show which I thought was a very unexpected twist. Despite the story being incredibly intense and dark while being all about a series of horrific attacks, there were many moments that had the audience laughing out loud! These characters have been crafted in way that makes them extremely accessible and relatable. Season two takes place a few months after the end of season one with the criminal being chased down by our two leading officers. We are reintroduced to the villain of the story is a wonderfully eccentric and powerful Freddy Lane played by the insanely talented Hermione Corfield. This is such a complex character who is simultaneously growing her obsession with fame but also her eroding mental state which was performed beautifully in a scene involving a newly acquired male lover. Her unhinged mannerisms and actions really help to portray this character as dangerous which fitted flawlessly with the character herself.
The first thing to keep in mind before starting either season of this show is that it is clearly intended for a much more mature audience. In the opening moments of this newest season sees depictions of sexual activity and extreme violence which would not be appreciated for a young audience member. After the opening episode had finished we were treated to a Q and A with the cast and crew of the show itself. On the panel was Philippa Collie Cousins, Eve Myles and Eryl Elli who were posed questions by the fabulous host. If anyone from BAFTA is reading this then you can take this as my official application to become one of your Q and A hosts and you can see a sample of my work on our YouTube channel at https://youtube.com/channel/UCHSoxy7Iw6ru0P6mUFOr2iw During her section Eve talked about what it was like coming back to a character after a short break and the effect that COVID has had on the performance industry. I thought that it was really powerful to hear stories of the theatre industry from the people who directly experienced them but also to learn the process involved in getting a tv show on the TV! I do have to say however that this Q and A section of the event was rather short and came to a slightly rushed end but that was due to the time available to the organisers!
Overall, the event helped to create some hype and excitement around the newest season of this intense crime genre which is essentially the purpose of such an event. I thought it was fantastic to be back at Chapter arts and in/amongst fellow BAFTA members during a complimentary drinks reception which was an instant win for me! I would rate this event 4 out of 5 stars and would encourage everyone (especially students) to look into getting a BAFTA membership as we have been able to access and attend many events that we otherwise would not have been invited to! You can catch “We Hunt Together” on Albi as weekly episodes are released!