Mercury Fur | little death productionsWritten by Lola MacMillan
Tuesday, 04 September 2007
Mercury Fur, written by well-known British playwrightPhilip Ridley and directed by Ben Packer for Little Death productions, is a battle-worn vision of the near future in which seemingly only the young and degraded have survived. Bonds of family and friendship are tested as the shell-shocked world continues to implode.
Brothers Darren (Xavier Samuel) and Elliot (Luke Mullins) are preparing for a party in a disused, shambolic building, possibly in East London. They are party planners for Spinx (Gareth Ellis), a pimp style gang leader who is, as you can imagine, quite a complicated guy. The play is something of an ode to the importance of memory and storytelling, both of which are threatened by the pervasiveness of drugs and violence.
Apparently this play divided audiences in the UK, assumedly due to its colourful language and violent subject matter, but I found the subject matter actually quite romantic. Brothers bond and form new families in the spaces left behind by tragedy, memories are lovingly reminisced over in minute detail, relationships come and go. Unfortunately though, like many of these British, boy-dominated, near future, ultraviolent fantasies, (in the Clockwork Orange vein), it comes across as a little dated.
The design team, Adam Gardnir (set), Kelly Ryall (sound) and Danny Pettingill (lighting), achieve a well united vision for this future. It’s loud, dirty and harshly lit. They work well together. Most of the performers also work well together, bursting with energy and pitching their complicated emotional levels well. It is quite a charismatic cast, which does add some excitement to the dated text. Though perhaps the text isn’t dated but needed a stronger direction in order to make it less predictable. Elliott, Darren and Lola (Russ Pirie) were a particularly interesting threesome. Performed with great neediness to love and belong, the actors render their characters with depth and sensitivity, which is both appealing and horrible.
This is a fast paced and generally interesting production; Little Death productions have effectively transformed the Theatreworks space. Mercury Fur presents a world that is filled with violence, desperate longing and such a need to belong that almost any behaviour is acceptable in order to protect what is left of any version of family.
These boys are quick to bond and just as quick to betray.