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Kill Thy Neighbour

Lucie Lovatt

Theatr Clwyd/Torch Theatre production

Theatr Clwyd, The Mix

April 2-20, 2024, 2 hrs 10 mins

Dafydd Emir and Victoria John in Kill Thy Neighbour at Theatr Clwyd. All pics: Studio Cano
Dafydd Emyr and Victoria John in Kill Thy Neighbour at Theatr Clwyd. All pics: Studio Cano

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What do you do when you are the last full-time residents in a village used mainly for second homes: sell up or stay? Apparently the village of Cwm-Yr-Eglwys had only two permanently-occupied properties out of 50, and this is the starting point for Lucie Lovatt's Kill Thy Neighbour, directed by Chelsey Gillard.

The action begins with the arrival of a new neighbour, set to renovate the home next door as a second home. The house used to belong to an artist, now missing, presumed dead. What unfolds is a series of family dramas affecting the last full-time residents of the village, who face an immediate choice after a proposed change in legislation from the Senedd (Welsh parliament), limiting the number of second homes in a village.

Do they sell up or stay? Selling means leaving behind several generations of family history - but also means they can take advantage of inflated house prices, which place the property beyond the reach of locals.

As time passes, the murky secrets often hidden in a family are exposed, much to the chagrin of the individuals. Most importantly, we find out what happened to the artist next door, and what he did to people in the village that led to his demise.

Various issues are drawn out by these events, notably the contrast between traditional and modern values. The mother and father are shocked, for example, when their unmarried daughter comes for a visit - five months pregnant, having used IVF and a sperm donor. In confronting this and other events, the characters learn to accept themselves and others in a better way. While there is plenty of gritty reality here, there is also some dark humour, which lightens the mood considerably.

The cast of five, Gareth (Jamie Redford), Caryl (Victoria John), Max (Gus Gordon), Meirion (Dafydd Emyr) and Seren (Catrin Stewart) are excellent. All have stage presence and some telling moments.

Having said that, the storyline is quite melodramatic and arbitrary at times. The play picks up on some important issues, but could have a different set entirely. All families have their issues and secrets, but this particular family seemed to have taken quite a pummelling compared to others.

But this doesn't stop the production holding one's attention and providing some riveting entertainment. Well worth a visit, this village, though you might not want to buy a home here...

More info and tickets here

Katrin Stewart and Gus Gordon in Kill Thy Neighbour at Theatr Clwyd
Catrin Stewart and Gus Gordon in Kill Thy Neighbour at Theatr Clwyd


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