Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Re-review: Radiant Vermin

A quick word about a show that, of course, I had to return to - I saw Philip Ridley's Radiant Vermin twice last year and ended up choosing it as my show of the year, making Ridley the first playwright to get pole position twice (although there's one, possibly two new Tom Wells plays in store this year so he could well have company soon.) You can read my original review of Radiant Vermin here,spoilers and all, and it's about to play off-Broadway so David Mercatali's production has taken the opportunity to warm up back at Soho Theatre - in the smaller Upstairs space this time. Sean Michael Verey returns to the role of Oliver, but Gemma Whelan, who'd originally been due to rejoin him, had to drop out. So Scarlett Alice Johnson now replaces her as Jill, while Debra Baker takes the dual role - or is it? - of Miss Dee and Kay.

The attic space isn't as well-suited to the play as the main house was - somehow, the smaller room seems less intimate, possibly because it's not particularly soundproofed, so noises from the street and Monster Raving Loony downstairs break the silent moments. But this is for the most part a noisy show, Verey and Johnson throwing in the huge amount of energy required, especially by the climactic Garden Party From Bloody Hell. Mercatali has tailored the show to the new cast's strengths but it remains the twisted and hilarious fable I loved last year.

Radiant Vermin by Philip Ridley is booking until the 28th of May at Soho Theatre Upstairs; then continuing on tour to 59E59, New York from the 2nd of June to the 3rd of July.

Running time: 1 hour 40 minutes straight through.

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