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Kill Thy Neighbour Review - Val Ruloff

Knocks 'em dead... and an awful lot more besides! Kill Thy Neighbour is 🌈👍🏻✌🏻

Looks like a pretty sure-fire certainty that the Torch and Chelsey Gillard, Director, have scored another big hit with this fabulous production. The stage is set, literally, right from the get-go... from the framed set structure from which all the action emanates and the opening words evocatively expressed by Gareth. Elin Steele's set and costume design, Lucia Sanchez Roldan's lighting design and Tic Ashfield's composing and sound design deserve a special mention here. The atmosphere and authenticity conveyed are excellent and very effective indeed . The moody beauty and deep undercurrents of Pembrokeshire landscapes and glorious coast are splendidly evoked. In addition, I thought that I was actually a visitor within a little rural homestead in the northern reaches of Pembrokeshire, bordering on Ceredigion.

All the ingredients are thus lined up to whet the appetite for a thrilling mixture, completely enthralling and with generous helpings of drama, excitement and tension. The fun, comedy and laugh-out-loud humour are supplied in no small measure, too.

My experience of the play was from starting point of blank canvas, being new to me... especially because the pre-production had all taken place in Mold prior to opening in Theatre Clwyd at the beginning of April. This led to significant amounts of incredulity as revelations began to unfold and plot twists and turns manifested at a rate of knots! Liam Dearden, fellow reviewer, and myself had more than one occasion to look at each other as the drama ramped up... jaws dropping and with mouths agape whilst clutching onto each other by the arm... at the same time as gripping our seats! There was a high level of audience engagement and reactions, too. I could hear much loudly whispered comment attempting to second guess the next revelation. No one could predict the outcome of this journey, though!

The themes of the play are myriad, including some very well observed socio-economic commentary about occupation of homes in beautiful Welsh rural areas... second home owning in particular. Dark themes emerge during the course of events, hitting both characters and audience for six... with undisguised astonishment as result. Deep and profound issues are explored during the story, too. These emerge as each character discloses more about themselves and the identity of each is reflected upon, as they try to make sense of events and of their pasts. Prejudices, misinterpretations and misjudgements abound... with huge scope for elements of delicious dramatic irony and the juxtaposition of darkly comic moments. Mystery and strangely inexplicable occurrences feature to add to the intrigue.

This play is very well written and the dialogue delivered cleverly and very credibly indeed. The cast performances are excellent, each and every member being well cast. Gareth, played by Jamie Redford; Caryl, played by Victoria John; Max, played by Gus Gordon; Meirion, played by Dafydd Emyr and Seren, played by Catrin Stewart all do an absolutely sterling job in their individual performance. There are some great moments and lovely details, including little touches which enhance enjoyment. Recurring jokes give a nod to topical and cultural subjects, as well as local references contained in the script. The whole cast revel in every opportunity to make the most of these gems.

The performances are convincing, very poignant and moving at times and very funny and with marvellous timing, too. The pace is well maintained throughout.

Reeling from the knock 'em dead impact... might just require a second viewing treatment.


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