By: Sandi Durell
Warning! Philip Ridley’s “Mercury Fur” is the story of a dystopian society; youth gone amuck when law and order break down and all that’s left are uncivilized gangs of thugs who are ready to kill as they operate under the influence. You’ve seen this portrayed in many a movie. And this play did premiere in 2005 in London. Of course, if you enjoy a play that begins and ends every sentence with F…in’ this, and FU and F-that, you may be a candidate for this offensive, negative drama where people get their kicks partying in abandoned apartments, helping crazies act out their sick and sinister fantasies where killing is the opiate of the event. Oh, and lest I forget, somewhat impaired Darren (Jack DiFalco) is only calmed down when his brother Elliot (Zain Pais) feeds him blue butterflies.
This is The New Group’s latest entry that launches the 2015/16 season at The Romulus Linney Courtyard Theatre at The Pershing Square Signature Center directed by Scott Elliott. To say it’s disturbing is an understatement. And it’s 2 hrs. and 15 minutes with no intermission of disturbing – – squirming in my seat in the disarray of Derek McLane’s set of broken furniture, garbage and leftovers from whomever once lived in the apartment, wishing I could sneak away. But they were smart not to have an intermission, as I’m certain most of the audience would have followed.
I’m not going to go into many details other than to say these traumatized youth have seen and experienced more than the human mind could accept, but there is still some remaining emotional tenderness left between the brothers and between Darren and his new found friend Naz (Tony Revolori) who holes up somewhere in the building. They’re all under the thumb of major thug leader of the pack, Spinx (Sea McHale). In this mix is their transgender friend Lola (Paul Iacono).
Yes, this is a warning, in more ways than one, that if we don’t’ shape up as a civilized society and get it right, we may not get to see many future sunsets. Kaboom! But there must be a more positive way to express this and get the message across than Ridley’s contrary interpretation.
Mercury Fur continues thru Sept. 27th. www.thenewgroup.org 480 West 42nd Street, NYC
*Photos: Monique Carboni