Thriller Night at Theatr Gwaun
I didn’t know what to expect of Thriller Night at Theatr Gwaun, in Fishguard, but I am delighted that I made the effort to turn out in the teeth of Storm Ciara.
We featured Tim Wickenden and his book Angel Avenger recently in Pembrokeshire.Online but I hadn’t met Nick Swannell, with whom Tim worked to put this evening together.
In a quick chat before the show, Tim told me that they met last summer (2019) when he went to Nick’s studio, Studio 49, where he made an audio recording of his latest book.
The two men came up with the idea for Thriller Night, which had its debut in Narberth soon after their meeting.
With the first film of the night, Eating Jesus, Nick explained that the title had come first and had unfolded into this quirky little film, with Emily Bower as the lead character. It was filmed in Narberth, and he promised that the sudden ending of this short film would not be the last we would see of the subject.
Next in the programme we were treated to the promotional film for Tim’s novel Angel Avenger. The film featured Kayleigh Phillips with all dialogue in German (subtitles in English); Tim’s novel is set in Germany in the 1960s and is based on a real-life wartime atrocity and subsequent acts of revenge that the author has invented. The film has been shown all over the world.
Tim then read an excerpt from the same book, in his Max Becker series, to whet the appetite.
Dancing Alone, the next item on the programme, was written and performed by Jane Marlow. Nick told us that it had won two awards, Best British Drama and Best British Actor. It’s an engaging little film concerning grief and agoraphobia, where posting a letter is a major triumph.
After an interval we watched Selfie, a black and white film shot in one day, which Nick explained cost next to nothing to make, but did not fail to impress the audience. In the film, shot entirely out of doors, a photographer pursues herself.
Next Tim read his short story Last Train, with the support of two actors, Owen Lucas and Jimmy Banks, which really brought to life the story of two men on a train journey that ends in tragedy.
The following film, Take Me Back, explored memory and how the mind plays tricks, and has also won a number of awards.
Girl Hunter began as a promotional film for Tim’s book of the same name. Aged to look like 8mm film, it was shot in one day around Dinas with three local girls.
The idea for the final film, Butchers Arms, began with the location, an almost empty pub in Pembrokeshire, and was not created without some challenges, Nick explained, but with a budget of only £200 it was shockingly effective.
The evening ended with questions from a most appreciative audience who not only enjoyed the readings and the films themselves but were full of praise for the music.
Nick, who also runs a recording studio, explained how important the music is and that it takes a great deal of effort and time to get it right. It certainly seemed to me that the music for all the films was extremely effective. One audience member called it striking and we were all impressed to hear that much of it had been recorded at Nicks own studio.
Everyone was keen to know if the two men will be working together in the future. Both were adamant that they will.
“ I have so many ideas,” Tim told us and both agreed that film-making is the ultimate team sport, something they both clearly enjoy.
We at Pembrokeshire.Online will be looking out, not only for more novels from Tim Wickenden, but also for more films from Nick Swannall. We are also sure that anything they create together in the future will be worth venturing out to see, whatever the weather.
Website for Nick Swannell : http://www.studio49narberth.co.uk/
Website for Tim Wickenden: https://www.timwickenden.com/