Building a Welsh-speaking King of Ireland

The dramatic new Welsh language musical ‘Branwen: y Dadeni’ has just come to the end of a very successful run throughout Wales, selling out everywhere and gathering positive reviews, particularly for its scope and ambition. 

We followed its journey with particular interest (and with some free tickets as well!) because the Millennium Centre had asked SaySomethingin to help Rithvik Andugula prepare for his role as Matholwch, the King of Ireland (who marries Branwen and then imprisons her). 

Rithvik’s family come originally from India, but he lived in Cardiff for much of his childhood and got his GCSE in second language Welsh. He wasn’t a confident speaker, though, and Matholwch is one of the main parts, so he had some understandable nerves at the start of the process.

Fortunately, in a couple of intensive days with Aran, Rithvik turned out to be an extremely fast learner and to have a very good ear for the language. He was one of the fastest learners Aran has worked with, right up there with Carol Vorderman and Jeremy Vine, and his confidence improved dramatically as he saw the progress he was making. He was left with a mountain to climb with the script itself, but he worked his heart out and did superbly – he was convincing and entertaining on stage, bringing his natural swagger and rhythm to the role.

Rithvik is a very grounded young man, full of positive energy and compassion for others, and we’re looking forward to seeing him build a hugely successful career. He’s got all of Matholwch’s charm and humour, but without the tendency to imprison innocent Welsh women – we hope to see him continue his journey with the language and star in many more Welsh language productions in the future.

Aran Jones