If the story of the boy who cried wolf was saturated in some downbeat small town realism, you would get something like this. Joel Horwood’s Wolves Are Coming for You is a low-stakes, two person play about how much of the wild becomes part of your life. The encroaching presence of wolves represents how the call of the wild is more threatening for some people than others
After some early, and slightly trivial, scene-setting (the whole quaint old village setup feels a little bit corny), Horwood’s story dives straight into weighty conversations about family relationships, missing children, and ambition. With little set dressing, it is left to the dialogue to bring both the setting and the characters to life. The former leaves something to be desired, the dreariness of the small-town life and the closeness of the community never quite being captured. The characters however are a different story.
A two-strong cast – Helena Lymberry and Stacey Evans – bring to life a colourful number of characters that are, mercifully, detailed enough to avoid feeling like village caricatures. The interactions prove low-stakes but powerful, piecing together complex dynamics and insecurities. Small moments of humour come at just the right time, disarming what would otherwise risk becoming a downtrodden experience. Throughout Wolves Are Coming For You, a quiet intensity fizzles away between whichever characters are on the stage, with a building of tension that keeps you increasingly invested as the story progresses.
In the shape of wolves, the wilderness creeps upon the village like a necromancer. These discussions of nature and the wild are often brought into the picture through violent or terrifying means. Through age or occupation, the wilderness occupies a much larger role in some characters’ lives than others, and this presence -or absence- is often the basis of conflict. It is a division neatly captured throughout the play, a testimony to the strength of Horwood’s dialogue that it feels so complete despite the lack of staging.
With some additional set wizardry, Horwood’s play could really come alive. But as it is, this is still a fascinating introspection on nature that gives its two leads the scope to play out some captivating characters.
Wolves Are Coming For You can be streamed online here.