★★★★ | Radiant Vermin, Soho Theatre, London
“I want this house. Oh, yes, I know there’ll be problems. But at least we’ll have the hope of things getting better. Isn’t that the least we owe our child? Hope.”
Jill and Ollie: a seemingly ordinary couple, trapped in poor housing on a rough estate, unable to get on the property ladder. They want to tell you about how they found their dream home and some of the things they did in order to get it. It’s a beautiful house. They know you might find some of the things they did shocking and horrible but they want to explain. They deserve that chance, at least. It may well be that you understand more than you initially think you do, too.
Philip Ridley’s plays are often visceral and dark with skilful humour leading the viewer subtly down dark routes too often brutal and sharp conclusions. This play is no exception with a hilarious and seemingly light-hearted satire on consumerism and the lengths we’re willing to go to acquire things. That’s till things get nasty and the gruesome secrets come out with Jill and Ollie’s suburban niceties peeling away to reveal deadly secrets.
The sublime Gemma Whelan, star of Ridley’s last play, “Dark Vanilla Jungle”, puts on another brilliant performance as the seemingly naïve and sweet, Jill. She’s ably supported by hapless and sweet Sean Michael Verey (Pramface) as wholesome Ollie and Amanda Daniels as the Mephistophelean Miss Dee.
A stark white set supports the raw action in this play that is perhaps one of Ridley’s most accessible. It’s a piece that’ll make you laugh, squirm and shudder and ultimately question your own motivations and desires. What would you do for a rapid induction hob, a four-man Jacuzzi and a flat screen TV? The Soho Theatre has yet again managed to put on something truly original and contemporary that suits beautifully in our current cultural landscape.
Radiant Vermin runs until the 12th of April 2015
Buy tickets here: http://sohotheatre.com/whats-on/radiant-vermin
Chris is a theatre and book obsessed Midlander who escaped to London. He’s usually to be found slumped in a seat in a darkened auditorium.