‘They Met on Good Friday’ is DUCT’s first radio play, and ushers in a new, joyful mode of student theatre. As soon as the music begins you are transported to an icy world of vikings and battle. Louis MacNeice’s play draws on Irish mythology and history to tell the story of how the Norse and Irish clashed, and the consequent conflict between personal power and religion. Directed by Eleanor Thornton, the radio play is a fantastic escape from the often-overwhelming state of current affairs. From start to finish, the production is charming and engaging, demonstrating the creativity of the fantastic team behind it.
The professional standard of the play is testament to the work that has gone into it and is a delight to listen to. With the comparative freedom of producing a radio play within coronavirus restrictions, the ability to have a larger cast is a welcome change. The sound production quality allows for clear character development and never distracts from the plot, however, at some points issues with audio quality disconnect the listener from the otherwise present sense of flow. Occasionally, it becomes noticeable that the two characters are not in the same space. However, special mention must go to Sound Editor Ryan King, and Foley Artist Nikolai Uemlianin Stone. While the voices may sometimes wane in quality, the overall production is extremely professional and engaging. The sound effects and music bring the scenes to life and are a vital part of the production. Whether it be the backdrop of rolling waves or a crackling fire, the addition of such soundscapes helps to elevate the piece as a whole and are very impressive.
The voice acting is also a stand-out part of the production. Robert Morrisey’s role, with his delivery of an authentic-feeling gravelly accent, aids in creating the immersive atmosphere present throughout the play. Similarly, Jessica Price’s voice as Gormali is fantastic. Her hypnotic, lilting tones add to the legendary and traditional atmosphere of the piece. The whole cast should be congratulated for their performances, as they made up a very strong ensemble.
In the transition to more online formats, and the rise of radio plays, the production team and cast have certainly proved their creativity and innovation. I hope that radio plays will become a fixture within Durham Student Theatre, and this production certainly sets a high standard, boding well for future DUCT productions. If you want to be immersed in another world where coronavirus seems to be far away and the threat of Vikings is the only thing to worry about, you must listen to ‘They Met on Good Friday.’ The production is available to stream until 13th December.
Image: Durham University Classical Theatre