Controversies are often distinguished by the fact that those who take most offence tend to be those who know least about the subject. Indeed, this is the case with Jermin Productions’ play, Children of Mine, which suffered demands for cancellation. Performed by an ensemble of mid-teens, the story is about the Aberfan disaster which engulfed the small mining village south of Merthyr Tydfil. In October 1966, after weeks of rain, one of the seven colliery spoil tips which loured over the settlement collapsed, killing 144 people.
A modest production using little more than seven aluminium ladders for set, the cast use dialogue, chorus and (of course) singing to tell their tale. The narrative is a very depoliticised take on events, invoking more the sense of community and collective trauma. Indeed, the closest the play gets to a political statement is the mild Welsh patriotism conjured by a sentimental list of things associated with the land of their fathers, all chanted with broad, Brythonic intonation. With a tribute as well staged and innocuous as this, performed by such a young and enthusiastic cast, the most offensive thing about it is that anybody should call for it’s cancellation in the first place.