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Review: Black Mountain at Theatr Clwyd’s Roundabout Theatre

Deputy Editor James Wright visits Theatr Clwyd’s Roundabout Theatre to watch a performance of Brad Birch’s psychological thriller, Black Mountain. Images courtesy of Anthony Timothy and James Wright.

Image courtesy of James Wright

Set inside the cosy and quaint vibe of a tent, Theatr Clwyd’s Roundabout Theatre played host to one of their Summer spectacular’s this past week, as we were enthralled in a snippet of the lives of a struggling couple looking to save their relationship.

Yes, Black Mountain by Brad Birch, a tale of betrayal, forgiveness, the inner turmoils of a struggling relationship, and a woman scorned, has hit North Wales.

Be warned!


Image courtesy of James Wright

Déjà vu?

I had not yet been inside Roundabout, but this venue is, as one would expect from the always impressive Theatr Clwyd, truly a wonder

Walking up the temporary walkway, I felt a weird sense of déjà vu as I headed towards the tent – like I was headed to a festival or some other cry to my younger days.

This was obviously a good sign for what was ahead of me – even if I wasn’t wearing wellies in a field in the middle of nowhere on my 8th can of warm, cheap beer, but I digress.

Aside from the unfortunate technical hiccup at the start of proceedings, the play ran smoothly – impressive when you consider we are in fact inside a giant teepee some 200 yards or more away from the nearest socket.


The play starts off atmospheric, the lighting, smoke and sound effects all coming into making you feel the minimalist nature of Roundabout is actually a massive, sprawling stage.

Your eyes (and imagination) fill out the rest of the scenes, whilst the fabulous talents of Hasan Dixon, Katie Elin-Salt, and Sally Messham fill our imaginations with a gripping story.

Set in a cabin in the forest, Rebecca (Elin-Smith) and Paul (Dixon) are trying to escape the pressures of modern civilisation, and their own past, whilst still trying to save their relationship.

Whilst in their new, temporary home, the couple live by a set of rules; they have to be honest with one another, they have to listen to one another, and they have to be fair.

At the start of the play, Rebecca seems cold and uninterested in anything Paul is trying to do.

Maybe I’m a little slow on the uptake – the girlfriend would definitely agree with me on this one – but within the opening scenes, Paul seems quite charming, if a little confused, whilst Rebecca just seems heartless.

It’s not until the narrative progresses that you learn why Rebecca acts this way towards Paul, and, at least for me, your opinion towards Paul may change – and again, as I’m afraid of giving away any of the narrative, I can’t go into too many specifics.

The nice, cosy setting the couple find themselves in soon turns into a dark, twisted nightmare (for Paul at least), and their journey to trying to save their relationship becomes a psychological mess, with lighting matching the shattered psyché of the characters.

Whether you consider Paul or Rebecca to be the main character is entirely dependent upon your opinion of the story, but regardless, the emotional turmoil the cast put you through as we witness the unfolding drama and betrayals gripping and engaging from start to finish.

Roundabout__Cast & Creative Team_Katie Elin Salt Sally Messham Hasan Dixon and Director James Grieve_p

Image courtesy of Anthony Timothy

Black Mountain is directed by James Grieve and based on the play written by Brad Birch starring Hasan Dixon, Katie Elin-Salt, and Sally Messham. The play lasts around 60 minutes, with no interval – perfect excuse for a quick but fun night out. Tickets are available here and cost £15 (£13 concessions). The play has limited showings (15th, 19th, and 21st July), so be sure to catch it whilst you can.

About James Wright (21 Articles)
I enjoy writing about anything and everything. From comic books to video games to films and TV. Heck, I've even reviewed live theatre before now. There's plenty of content out there, and it all has to be covered by somebody!

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