Radiant Vermin, Brockley Jack London, 4****: William Russell



by Philip Ridley


The Brockley Jack Studio, 410 Brockley Road, London SE4 2DH to 1 December 2018.

Tues – Sat 7.30pm.

Runs 1hr 40 mins No interval.

TICKETS: 0333 666 3366.




Review: William Russell 24 November.

Solving the problems of those who lack homes

Jill and Ollie live in a flat. Jill and Ollie would love to own a house. One day a letter arrives offering them a no strings new house on the run down Red Ocean Estate. Jill and Ollie think it a con trick but then a Miss Dee turns up to confirm that it is perfectly genuine, part of a new Government initiative to help first home buyers. They will be the first tenants. The house needs renovation, and their renovations will enourage others to buy and improve the area. Jill, who wants the good things in life especially when they come from John lewis, is persuaded. Ollie goes along with it displaying at least a little reluctance. They do the renovations. But for the renovations to succeed they need to find renovators.

There are, of course, strings attached to the offer but if you are creating your dream house what is the problem with having to pull them? We meet Jill and Ollie after they have held the birthday party from hell for their first born at which all their new neighbours, who had bought encouraged by what Kate and Ollie had done to their house, were present.

Philip Ridley’s wicked black comedy is both very funny and deeply disturbing as repeatedly Jill and Ollie take the audience into their confidence, posing the question – what would you have done? Would you go along with how the Government of the day has chosen to solve both the housing problem and the homeless at one stroke as it were, albeit a fell one? Laura Janes and Matthew John Wright squirm and wriggle, prevaricate and lust splendidly as they do the unthinkable – she wants more, he dithers, and succumbs. As for the mysterious Miss Dee, Emma Sweeney – somewhat plastered in makeup unlike Laura Janes whose Jill is extremely pallid – is suitably delightful and persuasive, and nowhere as nice as she seems. She also does a completely unrecognisable turn as one of the renovators who help Jill and Ollie.

Director Dan Armour has kept it all moving briskly and this First Knight production is a roller coaster ride to somewhere you don’t really want to go that everyone taking it should enjoy.

Jill: Laura Janes.

Ollie: Matthew John Wright.

Miss Dee & Kate: Emma Sweeney

Director: Dan Armour.

Lighting Sam Bland.

Costume: Pauline Amour.

Video Effects: Dave Jones.


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