Support our Nation today - please donate here

Theatre review: Final Frontier by Sarah Morgan Jones

25 Feb 2024 4 minute read
‘Final Frontier’. Art by Tess Powell

Tess Powell

This Saturday I spent my afternoon at the Swansea Grand Theatre attending the witty, yet simultaneously dramatic play Final Frontier, written by Sarah Morgan Jones.

A lunchtime theatre production by Fluellen Theatre, Final Frontier is only an hour long and uses the minimal set dressing of two tables and two podiums representing the tollbooths, as well as a small cast of four.

Lunchtime Theatre productions are rehearsed just a week before they are put on; an impressive turnover especially when producing such high quality work.

I overheard some members of the audience speaking about it just after the play ended and thought to myself “Really?? Just one week??”

It is also the second play by Sarah Morgan Jones to be produced by the Fluellen theatre company. With all these factors in mind I thought this was a very impressive piece of work and am excited to see what more there is to come.

Taking a toll

The story is set on the Severn Bridge between England and Wales the day before the bridge tolls were to be abolished, and follows tollbooth worker Karen along with her co-workers Gareth and Gina.

Karen and Gareth have a very close friendship after working together for many many years, and throughout the play the two are forced to reconcile with the end of their careers, their parting of ways, and the various hardships they are facing in their own lives.

Katherine Weare who plays Karen delivers some fantastic comedic acting and pulls facial expressions that had me giggling. We get to see her various humorous interactions with the people that travel the bridge as well as her banter with Gareth which was funny and charming.

There is also Peter Hawkshaw as Gareth, Hannah Simmons as Gina and Keith Ivett as Big Ken. The whole cast really heightens the believability of the setting as you feel you are really getting a glimpse into the lives of these toll workers.

Art work by Tess Powell


The harsher realities of the characters’ lives balances the comedy of the play as we learn that the father of Karen’s adult son was just released from prison and Gareth is in a dubious marriage and has a child on the way.

One of the final scenes is a very creatively written conversation between Gareth, Karen and Big Ken. Karen is speaking on the phone to big Ken while simultaneously Gareth thinks he is on the intercom with Karen.

What develops is a hilarious yet also heartbreaking misunderstanding as Gareth hears Karen chew out Big Ken and believes her to be chewing out him instead.

Eventually it leads with Gareth storming off and what results of their friendship is left ambiguous as the play ends with Karen at a very sparse Christmas party, just realizing what had happened.

I became invested in these two seemingly everyday folk and by the end of the play I found myself wondering more about what was to become of them and their friendship.

I left the theatre thinking, “No they need to call each other! They need to reconcile!”


There are many cultural references and jokes made that I’ll admit as an immigrant in Wales I didn’t fully understand, but that didn’t really matter since it’s because of those types of lines that one becomes immersed in the story as it commits to its setting.

The comical delivery of these lines helped me laugh along with the audience too.

Uncertain future

As a former customer service worker myself, it is easy to empathise with the various people Karen deals with and the problems that arise within her workplace.

Her and Gareth’s uncertain futures and the struggle to find work and make concrete plans is also something that is very relatable.

I feel I am so used to seeing stories with characters in luxury apartments with highfalutin’ jobs whose problems feel so out of reach, that it is a lovely change to become grounded back to reality with a story that feels much more real.

Juicy drama

Final Frontier gives us a look into the interpersonal relationships of people from an unlikely place, and tells us that even the average bridge toll employee can have the juiciest drama brewing just under the surface.

Final Frontier is showing on 7 March at the Met, Abertillery at 1pm. Tickets available here.

Follow Fluellen for details of more Lunchtime Theatre and other productions here.

Support our Nation today

For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Our Supporters

All information provided to Nation.Cymru will be handled sensitively and within the boundaries of the Data Protection Act 2018.