Monday, March 30, 2015

Radiant Vermin

5/5 rating
Radiant Vermin | Soho Theatre

Unwavering performance. Period. There is no set. There are no props. There is just one light change. There is good story but not strong enough by itself. And there are but two actors. Actually, there are three actors but two of them holds it together for most of the play.
As I said, the story is good. It's a darkly funny story and full of surprising metaphors. Gill and Oliver, a young couple from the Generation Rent, find themselves with a free home when they never thought they might own a home. As it turns out the home needs no money for renovations, only the sacrifice of homeless people or 'renovators'. And as the locality is gentrified with the number of homeless people reducing and the net worth of the neighbours increasing, Gill and Oliver find guilt clawing at them but convince each other they are doing it for their children. Wouldn't you do the same for yours?
They couldn't have given a better metaphor for gentrification than the actual sacrifice of the homeless which gets more 'humane' with more practice, who then transform into fairy sparkles that renovate the house and make it shine. I think that's where the title radiant vermin comes from. Miss D (the third actor) who gives the couple their home is the government that is seen as less bothered about the homeless or even the middle class but more worried about raising the value of property and accommodating the rich and she gets her dues of course, when the NeverEnough shopping centre opens up catering to the new neighbourhood. In the end, Miss D gives them another contract which requires double the work. You see, it's hard to be first-time buyers but it doesn't get any easier for second steppers or the third or the fourth.
Still, as I mentioned, while the story is really good it's not good enough to live it's own life. The actors made it work. And clearly if you had 90 mins of two people on stage, you need really good actors to pull that off. Gill and Oliver were both wonderful as actors. The epitome of their acting is  the well-timed and well executed scene of dual-monoacting (for lack of a better word) of Gill and Oliver as the three couples, their children and a single man in the neighbourhood,so that's 6 roles per actor (if I did my math right). Yes it starts out clearly but it starts getting confusing and that's how it's supposed to be as the light turns red, the actors change roles faster, they start mutters and spluttering their dialogues and the heat is turned up until Oliver has a nervous breakdown. 
Here I wish the play allowed for an audience pause for a burst of applause, unfortunately missed.
While all three of them are incredible actors, special mention must be given to Gill played by Gemma Whelan for her outstanding performance. I didn't realise she is the same actor who plays Yara Greyjoy in the TV series Game of Thrones until after the play. No wonder!

The play is not magnificent but it is really good, will make you laugh and is certainly worth 90 mins of a your time, especially if you a Generation Rent Londoner.

No comments:

Post a Comment