The housing crisis is clearly the hot topic of the moment, as explored by both Game by Mike Bartlett at the Almeida Theatre and now Philip Ridley’s Radiant Vermin at Soho Theatre.
On a sparse brilliant white stage a young couple Jill and Ollie, played by Gemma Whelan and Sean Michael Verey, tell us about how they came to have their dream home. They are offered a free, but run down house in a dilapidated part of town by a Mephistopheles figure called Miss Dee, played with aplomb by Amanda Daniels. When Ollie accidentally kills a homeless intruder and the vagrant’s body disappears and is replaced by Jill’s dream kitchen, the couple realise renovations on their home rely on a murder.
Ridley’s funny and energetic satire on greed and consumerism races along, as the couple try to convince you their actions are in the best interests of their child. The play builds toward a truly extraordinaire party scene, where Whelan and Michael Verey exhilaratingly play a total of twelve characters at speed and with huge success. A triumph of writing, acting, and direction: it was quite a spectacle.
A clever, amusing and probing satire Radiant Vermin asks the question of the audience: what would you do? Well, I would go and see this play.
Radiant Vermin by Philip Ridley is on at the Soho Theatre until 12th April.