'Crouch, Touch, Pause, Engage' compellingly interweaves the true stories of troubled teenagers in late 1990s Brigend, with hometown hero Gareth Thomas becoming the first rugby union star to come out as gay. Both stories are told matter of factly, but powerfully enough to stir plenty of emotion in the audience. And this being a National Theatre of Wales co-production (with Out of Joint), there is singing at the points when your hearts strings are being tugged most strongly.
The cast of six cleverly take on multiple parts, including at least four members playing the lead character at one time or another, and the set is well adapted to Arcola's crucible-style seating arrangement with the audience surrounding the stage on three sides, although I did feel at risk of accepting a stray rugby ball pass on one or two occasions.
We've been going to the Arcola for years and almost everything has been brilliant. 'Crouch, Touch, Pause, Engage' is no exception – another triumph for Dalston's green theatre!