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Kill Thy Neighbour | Theatr Clwyd

Kill Thy Neighbour is the debut full-length play of Wrexham born Lucie Lovatt, and is directed by Torch Theatre’s Artistic Director, Chelsey Gillard. Advertised as a dark-comedy thriller, we follow the lives of married couple Caryl and Meirion, who have resided in their postcard-perfect village for years. As their home becomes more wilted as the days pass by, and the community slowly disappears, Caryl wants nothing more than to escape, but Meirion desperately wants (or needs) to stay. As tension arises between the couple and their relationship hits breaking point, desperation leads to a spiral of secrets unravelling. Kill Thy Neighbour explores marriage, love and feeling trapped in your own life.

Lovatt must be commended for a valiant first full length play, balancing moments of light-hearted humour with the exploration of relevant and contemporary themes that audiences will relate to, and darker and gripping storytelling elements. However, there are some moments in which the themes seem to be introduced and then glossed over quite suddenly, leaving little overall impact on the play. Furthermore, the pacing sometimes feels slightly disjointed, particularly in the first act. The first act takes a while to find its feet, and it's only in the lead up to the end of act one, wherein deepest and darkest secrets are revealed, that the play truly begins to grip you and causes the audience to second guess the plot.

The small, but mighty, cast of five do a tremendous job of bringing Lovatt's writing to life. Victoria John (Caryl) perfectly captures the essence of a woman at breaking point. Caryl's desperation to find herself again is a heartbreaking journey and John's acting is so impeccable, that you truly feel like you are also being taken on this journey. Dafydd Emyr is particularly impressive with an unexpected character arc. Emyr has a natural ability to slowly change his characterisations during the duration of the plot thickening, that when he is overcome with vulnerability and fear, the complete change in his characterisations and demeanour is completely startling.

Gus Gordon is a breath of fresh air in the role of new neighbour Max, a city boy looking to escape the bustling city life (much to Caryl's dismay). Gordon perfectly encapsulates the vibe of a 21st century city boy, providing ample moments of light-hearted humour into the show by using Duolingo to learn Welsh, the consistent mispronunciation of Welsh names and villages, and the overuse of emojis on his text messages. Although he has limited stage time, Jamie Redford also shines in his role as estate agent, and the moments of heated discussion between himself and Caryl are some of the show's highlights. Catrin Stewart as Seren (Caryl and Meirion's daughter) gives a completely heartfelt performance as she takes you through the many emotions of becoming (by choice) a single mother, and uprooting memories that are better best forgotten about.

Elin Steele’s set design transports the audience into a neglected home, with years of collections stacked up on every possible surface, and discoloured and peeling walls that confine Caryl and Meirion. The set stays stagnant throughout, and serves as a gentle reminder of the Caryl's feeling of being trapped. Tic Ashfield's compositions and sound design are incredibly impactful, building the tension at necessary moments that keep the audience on the edge of their seats. Lighting design from Lucía Sánchez Roldán sets the tone of the play, with dark lighting inside of the home juxtaposed with frames around the front of the stage that portray a breezy and light seaside town.

Overall, Kill Thy Neighbour is a captivating and dynamic piece of theatre. The cast do an incredible job of bringing Lovatt's writing to life with the perfect balance of light-hearted humour that forms the essence of community, with the building of tension that forms multi-dimensional layers to the characters. Kill Thy Neighbour runs at Theatr Clwyd until 20th April - for more information and tickets, you can follow the link here. Kill Thy Neighbour will also be running at Torch Theatre from 24th April until 04th May - you can find more information and tickets here.


AD | gifted tickets in return for an honest review | photography by Jorge at Studio Cano


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