Friday, March 22, 2019

Farce Meets Horror in a Top Notch Radiant Vermin

Posted By on Fri, Mar 22, 2019 at 2:26 PM

click to enlarge Michelle Gregory, Lena Wallace Black, Chase Ring in "Radiant Vermin"
  • Michelle Gregory, Lena Wallace Black, Chase Ring in "Radiant Vermin"
Philip Ridley's Radiant Vermin is a comedy about a newlywed couple discovering the dream-home they've always wanted can be theirs, if they're willing to do what it takes. What it takes is both awful and potentially in the service of some grander, even more awful agenda. Think Whose Line Is It Anyway? meets American Psycho (but British), all rolled up in a gloriously ham-fisted metaphor for a related set of familiar urban plagues. 

Storytelling techniques eliminate the need for sets and costumes. Shocking events are shared directly with the audience via light narration and flashbacks, with three actors taking on all roles. Things come to a head in a climactic garden party from hell, when neighbors who've all recently moved into the almost mysteriously trendy area converge. With its terrific cast leading the way, Quark Theatre's creative team plays every note in this darkly comic aria perfectly, delivering surprise laughter and even more surprising flashes of tenderness.   
click to enlarge 52911762_1993732157595574_5663316564808564736_n.jpg
Michelle Gregory, Lena Wallace Black, and Chase Ring make up the tightest ensemble in town. They pull off an energetic balancing act that threatens to soar too far over the top, but stays just grounded enough for the human stakes to matter. 

What's the worst thing you ever did for security? Comfort? Luxury? Did you even know you were doing it? And who are the real rats? These are some of the questions at the core Radiant Vermin, a show that gets in its audience's face bit, while spoofing some contemporary British problems that sound awfully American.

Radiant Vermin is a kind of Macbeth for moderns exploring creature comforts, and how they help us manage guilt and other unpleasant feelings.  It asks us who the real rats are.

Radiant Vermin is at Theatre South through March 31. I cannot recommend it enough. More details are available here

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