See this, see this! This is brutally urgent, astonishingly affecting, horrifying yet deeply moral theatre. If you are the sort of person who can't bear a horror film, this will be too much for you. But otherwise, go! In the embarrassment of riches offered by Philip Ridley to London theatre this year (including his ingenious murder mystery, Shivered, at Southwark, and his fantastical psycho-drama, Pitchfork Disney, at Arcola), this revival of Mercury Fur is the unmissable one, the one most likely to change you in some way, the one most likely to make you see the world anew. And even if it doesn't do that, it will give you a visceral thrill, and the privilege of seeing a towering acting ensemble, uniformly of Olivier awards calibre, in a truly intimate setting. There are no false notes from any of the performances, and no lulls in the story-telling. Right now, a dystopian sci-fi fantasy about humans hunting humans, The Hunger Games, is dominating the world box office. This production makes The Hunger Games look like Play School! Mercury Fur's moral questions about what you would do to survive in horrific circumstances, what fictions you would tell yourself to avoid the depressing reality, what drugs you would take to blot away your conscience are far more prescient than anything in The Hunger Games. The acting is superlative. Olly Alexander is unforgettable as Naz, his moment to moment affectionate, tactile, pleasure-seeking and slavish reality, not only completely convincing, but recognisable to me in the behaviour of people around me every day. Ciaran Owens and Frank C. Keogh are great as brothers, the space they give (and deny) each other to live and breathe and think feels utterly authentic. The actors playing Lola and the Duchess evince great tenderness portraying characters who cannot face the horror of the present, Lola preferring to physically retreat, whereas the Duchess psychically retreats into childlike fantasy. It's all so touching (the production makes you care about characters you might easily loathe), and the devastation of James Turner's apocalyptic room gradually grabs you until you are trembling by the end of the play. This is one not to be missed! (Incidentally, this was my first time at the Old Red Lion, and I didn't understand the ticketing system, so I made conversation with a bloke who had been to the Lion before to get to grips with the situation. Amusingly, the helpful bloke later turned out to be Philip Ridley, when at the end of the play, the audience reconvened, he revealed himself and read a selection of his prescient poetry with an immediacy and impact puts most spoken word poetry to shame. I am a numpty). :) - steveatplays
06 Apr 12
Literally just seen this and was blown away. This is what theatre is for. Go and see this play! - ARon
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