I often think that the perfect piece of theatre should have me in both tears of laughter and sorrow and the recent performance of Land of our Fathers at Fishguard’s Theatre Gwaun did just that.

Performed by six talented local actors and directed by woman-with-a-vision, Rain Malone-Hallett, this was the first outing of Chris Urch's play since its national tour in 2016.

The play follows the story of six Welsh miners trapped underground when a roof collapses. As they struggle to maintain morale, alliances are formed and secrets revealed.

Theatr Gwaun’s intimate setting provided a perfect venue, with the simple stage set and lighting, including the beams from the miners’ headlamps, adding to the growing sense of claustrophobia.

Despite its gritty theme the banter between the six miners delivers plenty of laughs as well as touching moments when family relationships, secret or otherwise, are explored.

The action spans eight days, beginning on election day in May 1979 and masterfully develops the characters of all six miners, from the foul mothed Bomber who is about to retire, to the musical-loving Mostyn on his first day down the pit.

Credit must go to the six local amateur actors, all of whom put in an exceptional and emotionally-charged performance. Apart from the occasional prompt in the second half (and this was the first night) I forgot I wasn’t watching a professional cast.

All six men did a tremendous job from the youngest cast member, 15-year-old Jacob Hancock, who gave hell of a performance way beyond his years, to the oldest, Patrick Thomas, who combined poignancy and profanity in the character of Bomber.

Owen Lucas as kept up a convincing Polish accent throughout as the terse yet tender Hovis and poured every ounce of emotion into the part. Mention must also go to Jimmy Banks, as Curly, whose recitation of the periodic table as a way to woo was outstanding as was his nightmare monologue.

Colin Hancock as Chopper started a closing scene that still brings tears to my eyes when I remember it, while Tristan Thomas as Chewy perfectly captured the struggle between the longing for a London life and the ‘hiraeth’ it would entail.

“I am thrilled to have worked with such a wonderful group of men,” said director Rain Malone-Hallett. “They really worked hard in developing their characters and bringing them to life. Each actor surpassed any expectation I had.

“I would like to thank our very talented crew for the fantastic set and running the backstage.

“I would also like to thank the staff at Theatr Gwaun for hosting the show.

"We sold 364 seats over the three days. And with a cast of just six people and a stormy weekend that's great. So thank you Fishguard and the surrounding areas for supporting this very special play.”

It is hoped that the play will now go on tour to other local theatres. If you missed it in Fishguard, it is definitely worth catching, so keep your eyes peeled for details of other venues.