“Tarbuck and King have created a classic”

Emily Tarbuck and Ryan King’s horror audio drama ‘The Right Kind of Hatred’ is definitely worth a listen. While the £3.50 or £4 ticket price may be off putting for some, you have to remember that this is a one-off short play, from a company that usually very generously releases its projects as free serials on all podcast apps. It’s only an hour long and was so well written and produced I was definitely left wanting more, which is saying something for a show that could be described as a horrific version of an episode of The Archers.

Set in a timeless rural community, the show follows the occupants of a small village as they struggle to solve the mystery of the grisly murder of Anne (Hannah Kisiala). The plot is centred around the villagers’ deep distrust of newcome Tim, portrayed flawlessly by Stephen Ledger, and his own struggles with realising he has ‘Snapped’, meaning developing a loss of all humanity, and a hunger for the human heart. Stephen must be praised for his performance, his mellow tones at first lulling the listener into a sense of security, before some expertly delivered monologues lending insight into an unravelling mind.

In fact, the whole cast must be praised for their storytelling capabilities, it is a difficult task to show emotion through just vocalisation, but this was consistently strong throughout, though you could perhaps slightly tell who had acted in an audio drama before and who hadn’t. This professionalism is certainly a result of Dragos Farcas’s directing, as well as an absolutely stellar script. Tarbuck and King have created a classic: the plot flows effortlessly, and manages to paint a picture of an insular world, without the use of a narrator, and without feeling at all forced. The show is well put together as a whole, but occasionally I felt the editing left slightly too long a gap between sections, and that some actors could have had better pacing. However, I can understand the need to ensure clarity in a show that relies entirely on the listener being able to hear every word.

Alongside Ledger, the cast consists of the members of the village, a dysfunctional collective attempting to act the role of sleuth. Farcas has ensured each character is distinct and memorable and should be praised for this. Louis Renouf played David, Anne’s grieving father, and excelled at a level of distraught paranoia, although I feel his softer emotional moments perhaps lacked some depth. Matthew Fackrell, in his first acting role, was utterly terrifying as John, a member of the village who has already ‘Snapped’. The voice acting here was incredible, and I’m sure this is equal parts down to actor and director.

The highlight for me I think, was the female ensemble of villagers. They all were incredibly human in the way they portrayed grieving people, often trying to rationalise the men in their lives. Eugenie Nevin in particular shines as the overly empathetic Erin, coming across as sweet and put together, until the end of the play where she masterfully allows the listener to see how fatal her character’s flaws are.

The performance is rounded off with sounds by foley artists Martin Ramalingum and Molly Knox. Whenever they were enhancing setting, it was marvellous, although occasionally, in the more violent scenes, I struggled to determine what exactly was going on. That said, not being able to perfectly recreate the sound of someone’s heart being ripped out is probably a good thing! The piece was also underscored by original music composed by Rowan Aufrichtig. This was wonderful – the quality was so high I would have liked to hear more though, as it seemed the same sectioned was looped for most of the musical moments.

All in all, ‘The Right Kind of Hatred’ showcases exemplary student talent, whether in writing, acting, directing or composing, and I would urge you all to give it a listen… although probably not late at night!

By Maddie Hurley

Photo credits: DUADS

‘The Right Kind of Hatred’ is available online from https://www.durhamstudenttheatre.org/whats-on/