On Bear Ridge

On Bear Ridge

3.3 (6) · New Writing

“One minute we had customers, the next minute there was no-one.”

“There have been several excellent productions set in 'left behind' towns recently, such as the Donmar's acclaimed Sweat. On Bear Ridge has a similar setting, a small town in Wales where "one minute we had customers, the next minute there was no-one". But whereas Sweat was a naturalistic take on the realities of today, this new play is a sort of strange, post-apocalyptic tragi-comedy. Starring the always excellent Rhys Ifans.”
Lyn Gardner avatar
24 October 2019  ·  Follow on Stagedoor
“Rhys Ifans and Rakie Ayola star in Ed Thomas play about memory, home and the places we leave behind. A co-production between National Theatre Wales and the Royal Court, Ifans and Ayola play John and Noni, the remaining inhabitants of a lost village who have lost a great deal themselves including their son. They are staying put in the local village store but as war planes cross the sky somebody is on his way towards them. Friend or foe. This poetic, Beckettian piece was praised on its premiere at the Sherman in Cardiff last month.”


In a lost village, blurred by redrawn borders, hidden under a crumb on the map, Bear Ridge Stores still stands.

After a hundred years, the family butchers and grocers – a place for odds and ends, contraband goods, and the last petrol pump for 30 miles – is now silent.

But owners John Daniel and Noni are not leaving.

They are defiantly drinking the remaining whiskey and remembering good times, when everyone was on the same side and the old language shone.

Outside in the dark, a figure is making their way towards them.

A semi-autobiographical story about the places we leave behind, the indelible marks they make on us, and the unreliable memories we hold onto.

Age Recommendation: 14+

Critic reviews

The script is rich in language and content, supported by excellent performances and a beautiful set

A Younger Theatre

A tender piece about love and loss

Financial Times

Plenty of magnetism from Rhys Ifans, but this very British drama doesn't quite grip

The Telegraph

Rhys Ifans and Rakie Ayola hold off despair in whimsical dystopian fantasy

Evening Standard

A well-wrought, cautionary tale


Despite its rather abstract quality, 'On Bear Ridge' has enormous symbolic resonance

The Arts Desk

Rhys Ifans shines in Ed Thomas’s surreal, tender drama about people making do in a post-apocalyptic world

Time Out

Absorbing, moving and intriguing

The Sunday Times (Cardiff run)

A delicate balance of melancholy and playfulness, of anger and acceptance creates a feeling of limbo, almost numbness, that is masterfully maintained throughout

Exeunt (Cardiff run)

Writing, acting and design combine brilliantly in Ed Thomas’s post-apocalyptic new play

The Observer (Cardiff run)

An excellent tragicomic play elevated further by Rhys Ifans and the ensemble

The Stage (Cardiff run)

Rhys Ifans braves a storm of sadness

The Guardian (Cardiff run)

Date & time

Show ended
Thu 24 Oct - Sat 23 Nov, 2.30pm & 7.30pm


Sloane Square SW1W 8AS London, UK · Get Directions
out of 5 stars
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