Radiant Vermin – Tron Theatre, Glasgow

Reviewer: Lauren Humphreys

Writer: Philip Ridley

Director: Johnny McKnight

Designer: Kenny Miller

When do you know it’s time to stop? When do we know enough is enough? How far are we willing to go to get what we want? Questions posed in Philip Ridley’s outrageous 2015 satire Radiant Vermin, here receiving its Scottish premiere at the Tron Theatre.

Perky pair Ollie (Martin Quinn) and Jill (Dani Heron) are a young, ambitious couple about to be parents, stuck on the wrong side of the tracks. When the mysterious Miss Dee (Julie Wilson Nimmo) arrives on their doorstep, knowing a helluva lot more than she should about the duo, offering them a free home under the “Social Regeneration Through the Creation of Dream Homes” scheme, they are obviously intrigued. The only problem is the home is derelict and in an area that gentrification hasn’t reached… yet… and, well, there are a few catches involved.

When Martin accidentally kills a homeless intruder one night, their kitchen miraculously transforms into the Selfridges’ one Jill has been long dreaming of. The pair soon put two and two together and through their nefarious deeds, night by night their money pit of a house is turned into a desirable designer home.

Ridley has, as he always does , gone for shock value to drive the moral point home. In providing us with the most utterly likeable protagonists in this fourth wall- breaking work, the audience become complicit in these deadly acts. Jill rationalises wide-eyed that it’s all for the baby, wouldn’t we do the same if we could? The duo are so adorable, we are gleefully willing them along to their next “renovation”.

Director Johnny McKnight has in the trio on stage, the perfect cast. The smiling, sinister Miss Dee is masterfully played by Wilson Nimmo, solidifying her reputation as one of Scotland’s finest comic actors, while Wilson Nimmo is always a sure pair of hands, the central pair of Ollie and Jill are a revelation. The young duo are stars in the making. The frenetic pace of the action is handled with a precision rarely seen. The pair’s delivery is all, this is a masterclass in acting from the duo.

Despite being written in 2015, the property crisis has only gotten worse in the subsequent decade, lending even more relevance to Ridley’s play. The absurdity of the situation thankfully doesn’t erase the underlying moral questions asked and the riotous but uncomfortable laughter testifies to that. Enough is never really enough and base human nature will always demand more. It is entirely believable that, like in this play, property and possessions are often valued more than human life, especially lives that we don’t consider worthy.

Be careful what you wish for, but wish that there are still tickets left to see this unmissable show.

Runs until 13 July 2014 | Image Mihaela Bodlovic

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The Reviews Hub - Scotland

The Scotland team is under the editorship of Lauren Humphreys. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. We aim to review all professional types of theatre, whether that be Commercial, Repertory or Fringe as well as Comedy, Music, Gigs etc.

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