Review Kill Thy Neighbour, Theatr Clwyd By Donna Williams

 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

Those who are lucky enough to get over to Theatr Clwyd in Mold over the next week or so to witness Kill Thy Neighbour will be surprised to learn that this is writer Lucie Lovatt’s first full-length play. It has been a long time since I saw a play that captured my full attention and imagination throughout, as this one did. Lovatt had been inspired by an article about Cwm-Yr-Eglwys and the fact that only two of the fifty properties there currently had permanent residents: the political backdrop of the second-home crisis being current and resonating with, not just Welsh communities, but communities across the globe.

The play opens with the audience looking in on a family home in a little Welsh coastal village abandoned by its former residents and now overrun with wealthy folk from the cities buying properties as holidays home or weekend getaways. The house in front of us could belong to any of us- there’s washing up in the sink, dozens of coats hanging on hooks near the door, most probably not worn anymore, a couch that’s seen better days, a table and four chairs donning a cork board and a door that creaks open with the slightest breeze. This is no Instagram home, but a home that has seen generations of the same family living under its roof, a home that is loved, a home that has seen more than we first realise. The phrase ‘if walls could talk’ certainly comes to the forefront as the action progresses. And there is so much action despite the play not moving from these four walls. The characters, the setting, the plot keep the audience completely hooked throughout- a real mix of hilarity and darkness and yet everything believable despite the explosive secrets that are unearthed.

We meet long-married couple Caryl (Victoria John) and Meirion (Dafydd Emyr) who appear to be at odds- Caryl has called in camp-as-a-row-of-tents estate agent, Gareth (Jamie Redford), to value the house even as Meirion insists he is never moving; this is where generations of his family grew up and he never intends to sell the house. Later we learn there may be more to his decision that first meets the eye, Lovatt consistently dropping hints and clues of the drama that is about to unfold. Nothing is predictable but we are left frequently wondering.

The outsider invasion is represented by Max (Gus Gordon), a Bristol-based marketing consultant who has just bought the property next door, which Meirion has agreed to keep an eye on while Max is still commuting back for work at the same time as attempting to salvage his relationship with his girlfriend who doesn’t seem all too keen on the move.

The drama continues to unravel as Caryl and Meirion’s thirty-something daughter, Seren (Catrin Stewart) arrives on the scene with a few secrets of her own. She escaped the village years ago, much to the disappointment of her mother. Arguments and revelations ensue and there is a constant undercurrent of something like the bubbling of a volcano ready to erupt at any moment. We hang on every word of each character, all of whom we can relate to in one way or another; the near retired wife who doesn’t feel wanted, the downtrodden father who has always worked hard but isn’t satisfied with his lot, the happy go-lucky guy next door who just wants to please everyone, the local estate agent who wants his next sale but who also has a heart and the daughter who moved away and wants a family of her own.

The cast are simply superb and play every word and emotion perfectly- it is impossible to single out one player. The comedic elements are skilfully balanced against the raw issues arising in this production and has certainly left me wanting to see more of what this writer has to offer in the future. From the set to the direction, the casting to the interweaving lives of these characters before us- this is a must-see piece of theatre!

Kill Thy Neighbour completes its run at Theatr Clwyd on April 20th.

Kill Thy Neighbour | Theatr Clwyd


Gareth- Jamie Redford

Caryl- Victoria John

Max- Gus Gordon

Meirion- Dafydd Emyr

Seren- Catrin Stewart


Writer- Lucie Lovatt

Director- Chelsey Gillard

Set & Costume Design- Elin Steele

Lighting Designer- Lucia Sánchez Roldán

Composer & Sound Designer- Tic Ashfield

Assistant Director- Ellie Rose

Intimacy Director- Bethan Eleri

Casting Director- Polly Jerrold

Wellbeing Facilitator- Hester Evans

Company Manager- Alec Reece

Deputy Stage Manager- Tyla Thomas

Assistant Stage Manager- Emma Hardwick

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