BOOM BOOM POW that’s what I felt after seeing Mercury Fur.
From the moment you enter the tiny space that is Trafalgar Studios 2 you felt the tension and unease.
With dust in the air and debris everywhere, I felt a bit claustrophobic and uncomfortable which is the point. This is not a play about all things sugar and spice.
Set in the a squat in a future dystopia London, Elliot (Ciarán Owens) and Darren (Frank C Keogh), two brothers are anxious and nervous as they enter, they have to get the place ready for a party – that’s they expertise setting up parties for special ‘Party Guests’ who can play out their twisted fantasy and Elliot also supply’s butterflies that have a acid trip affect when consumed.
Manoeuvring around the debris and unsettling the dust (and as us the audience) as they try and clean up unexpectedly Naz (Sam Swann) pops up out of blue who is already occupying one of the rooms in the flat that was thought to be empty. Naz some how submerges himself into the action and is unfazed.
When Lola (James Fynan), Darren’s transsexual girl finally arrives with the ‘Party Piece’ (Ronack Rajj), she and the party piece are not what you expect. More pressure is added with the news that the mysterious Spinx (Benjamin Dilloway) and Duchess (Katie Scarfe) are about to turn up. Their arrival is the first BOOM which closes the first act and your left thinking who, what..urm..
The second act drives home the harsh reality of this make shift family and the dark enterprise they have going. Each of their back stories fill in the gaps and a few twists emerge, we learn how they have survived this unknown event that has resulted in a city out of control to where they are now.
The second BOOM is when the ‘Party Guest’ (Henry Lewis) arrives and events take downward spiral. The POW comes in the final scene when the two brothers face off - facing doom or survival?
This is second Philip Ridley play I’ve seen this year and I loved, loved this one mostly because it didn’t lead you down the garden path and a story that isn’t afraid to shock or have a happy ending.
I have never felt so many reactions to a play. Right from the start the staging and effects sets the tone and so I found before the play had even started my imagination ran wild.
It’s also the excellent performances from the whole cast, who superbly relays the emotion over to the audience and hooks you in to their stories.
Three nods though have to go Frank C Keogh playing the not so simple Darren and Ciarán Owens as Elliot, slowing cracking under the pressure with the whole world of his shoulders trying to protect both his brother and girlfriend – a love story that was also believable and finally Sam Swann as Naz showing the characters naivety and cleverness of adapting and integrating himself into the group effortlessly.
I loved the mystery of not know why London was the way it was, what was the big event that changed everything forever. How the butterfly that already holds so many metaphors, was used as a drug of choice in this new dark world.
A very dark tale that leaves you not only shocked but holding your breath on the edge of your seat wanting more.
With only a couple of days left till the end of its run, one to catch if you can! check Twitter for special ticket offers.
Links: Trafalgar Studios