Theatre in Wales

Theatre, dance and performance reviews

"Modern Life Is Rubbish. Who knew?"


Sherman Theatre and The Royal Court Theatre. , , Sherman Theatre , March-29-17
  Killology  by Sherman Theatre and The Royal Court Theatre. , Haverfordwest born playwright Gary Owen has been a rising star of the Welsh theatrical scene throughout the 21st century. In 2016 he broke through with “Iphigenia In Splott” , becoming the 4th winner of the James Tait Black prize for drama with nominations for Best Play and Best Actress, Sophie Melville, at the Evening Standard awards following a run at the Temporary theatre at the National Theatre.

His latest play “Killology” is a joint production between the Sherman and Royal Court theatre and is currently running in the smaller Studio theatre. The auditorium is atmospherically dark and mysteriously covered in cables. We soon meet Alan who has intricately smuggled himself into a flat to commit murder. Next we see Davey a youth who explains his upbringing and his absent father. Finally we are introduced to Paul an affluent inter-games creator.

These 3 seemingly unrelated characters reveal their stories through a series of intriguing monologues drawing us in so we want to know more about these people and how they all fit together.

The joy of watching a play in an intimate space is that you feel connected to the actors. When they make eye contact you are now part of their lives. The downside is that in such a visceral piece it is upsetting to be so close to such unremitting unpleasantness that they reveal. Although it was billed as a play with an interval the first half lasted so long I thought they had decided to run it straight through. The break did allow us to catch our breath and debate strongly where we thought this play was heading and felt that we couldn't really take anymore nastiness. Playwright Gary Owen seemed to agree and take pity on his audience as the second half was less harrowing and tried to create an uplifting ending. (Or did it?).

"Killology" is undoubtedly "event" theatre. This is a strong piece, well written and brilliantly acted by Richard Mylan, Sion Daniel Young and Sean Gleeson ( who I had previously been impressed with in "The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time" in the West End).

Modern "state of the nation" dramas are genuinely hard-hitting and depressing. Personally, I found "Killology" too gruesome for my taste and the descriptions of some of the events were so vivid I am struggling to get them out of my head. We all know that the world is a bad place but another play depicting further levels of depravity is not what this theatre-goer needs to see at this moment in time.

However, what is important is that people watch plays and make up their own mind. Everyone is different and if you like thought-provoking drama of a very high standard head to the Sherman theatre and create your own opinion.

It runs until Saturday 8th April.

Reviewed by: David Cox

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