3-4 Picton Place February-March 2010
'I love you so much I could burst into flames. I love you so much I could kill you.'
I am quoting from the play.
There are plays which are so deeply unpleasant and so disturbing that it is difficult to recommend them.
We live in a violent age. Horrific stories are reported daily. Authors have always recycled violent stories from time immemorial. The Ancient Greek dramatists described the horrors in detail but kept them off-stage. The Jacobean playwrights, on the other hand, put the horrors centre stage.
When Laurence Olivier and Peter Brook revived Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus in 1955 at Stratford (tongue ripped put, hands chopped off, a mother eating a pie made from her two sons) there were so many people fainting they had to draft in extra staff from the St John's Ambulance Brigade. Edward Bond's Saved in 1965 (stoning of a baby in a pram) and Sarah Kane's Blasted in 1995 (rape and cannibalism) caused an uproar in the press.
When Philip Ridley's Mercury Fur was premiered in 2005, Faber, Ridley's publisher, refused to publish it. It has since been acted all over the world and is now getting an excellent revival by Frances Loy in a small dark room in a derelict office block five minutes walk from Bond Street Station and near Selfridges.
Loy is one of the artistic directors of Theatre Delicatessen, a company formed in 2007 which is committed to creating work in alternative theatre spaces. The actors - a fine ensemble - are exceptionally good, and casting agents on the lookout for good young actors are strongly recommended to see this production.
But when I tell you the story is about a small group of working class lads who are living in a post-apocalyptic London and that they make money by throwing parties for rich clients who want to live out their fantasies of torturing and murdering children, you will readily appreciate that Mercury Fur is only for the strongest stomachs.
If you have a strong stomach, go.
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Mercury Fur 2010