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Description Challenging new play by the enfant terrible of dark, disturbing drama Elliot is panicking. The party that he and his brother Darren have been planning has been brought forward - to tonight.

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Mercury Fur – Philip Ridley

In a lawless, ravaged city, where memories of the past have been brutally erased, the boys and their team survive by realising their clients' darkest fantasies. But just how far are they prepared to go in trading humanity for information?


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As the light fades and events spiral out of control it becomes clear that on the success of the evening hangs not just their security, but their existence. The world is at its worst Mercury Fur is a challenging new work containing some explicit scenes that may cause offence. Product details Format Paperback pages Dimensions x x 14mm Looking for beautiful books?

The dark, disturbing genius of Philip Ridley | Stage | The Guardian

Visit our Beautiful Books page and find lovely books for kids, photography lovers and more. Other books in this series. The Women of Troy Euripides. Workbook and DVD v. Speaking With Skill Dudley Knight. Accidental Death of an Anarchist Dario Fo. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Mercury Fur by Philip Ridley. Mercury Fur by Philip Ridley. Challenging new play by the enfant terrible of dark, disturbing drama Elliot is panicking.

Paperback , pages. Published February 10th by Bloomsbury Methuen Drama.

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Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Confronting, haunting script by an emerging British playwright. A post-apocalyptic London, a plague of butterflies, a snuff party. Ridley is a writer with great intelligence and purpose - the violence here is neither gratuitous nor juvenile.

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Melbourne theatre company little death staged a brilliant version of this at the Stables Theatre, Sydney, in Jan 03, Emily May rated it really liked it Shelves: This is a weird ass play. I guess you might call it "dystopian" if you were to categorise it. Set in an alternate world where Elliott and Darren must survive by fulfilling the disturbed fantasies of their clients, it looks at the dark, depraved depths of humanity at its worst. Jun 19, Romany Arrowsmith rated it really liked it.

It is inventive and brave; there are few modern plays that dare to be this grotesque on purpose but not gratuitously so. Ridley's own description of his work really reveals the sentimental themes that underpin all the terrible stuff that goes on at the surface. About what we do for love and what happens if there is a lack of love. I was interested in what happens to a society if we lose our memories and language disintegrates. One of the things that separates us from the animals is our ability to tell stories and to impose narrative on our lives. Part of the way society is held together is by a continuum of stories.

I wanted to explore what happens when we are all robbed of our personal narratives. As for the title, which, tellingly, I have found not a whisper about in any review of this work critics always pretend things they don't understand don't exist: I personally understand this to be a reference to mercury poisoning, which can cause dementia and loss of memory, feelings of spaciness and disorientation, and even in rare cases, addiction. Back in the day, mercury compounds were used to separate animal fur from the pelts to make hats and clothes.

The phrase "mad as a hatter" comes from the experience of people who made these clothes. They would over time get horribly sick and crazy from the heavy metal exposure. So, though it is never explicitly stated, perhaps the "butterflies" that everyone keeps taking are a highly addictive form of mercury - like the toxic mercury fur hatters had to work with.

There are clever allusions to Mercury in its different conceptual forms throughout the play, too. Space exploration is presented as an escape to the characters, for instance; they fantasize about leaving this planet to a new one, any one, which might hold a better life than the currently inhabited eschaton. Also, Mercury the Roman deity lead souls to the underworld. And there's the linguistic oddity of the phrase "Mercury Fur" in itself, which doesn't have an immediate conceptual referent in the English language.

The audience constantly returns to it, turning it over mentally, much like the cast of addled teenagers constantly try returning to their pre-apocalypse memories, losing and gaining the ideas and the words to describe them in a tragically haphazard way. I loved this play. It was brutal and not for the squeamish. Wish it was more translatable to US audiences; I doubt I'll ever get to see it performed here.

Jun 06, Jack rated it really liked it. When the rest of the world tells me there is nothing to save, I will ignore what they say and I will save you. For, if you can be saved, then so can we all. If you can be saved, so can we all. Feb 21, Christopher rated it it was amazing. Of the Philip Ridley plays I've read so far this is his most fully realized. May 11, Runa rated it really liked it.


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Surprisingly, I enjoyed this play more in performance than when reading it. When I thought about why that was, I realised it's not surprising at all: Ridley's demotic, violent language, which oscillates between too vulgar and too commonplace, actually sounds more authentic when spoken.

What you expect to read on a page is elevated speech of one sort or another; when you hear it onstage you recognise it as a perfect rendering of everyday conversations. Which, of course, makes Mercury Fur's dystop Surprisingly, I enjoyed this play more in performance than when reading it. Which, of course, makes Mercury Fur's dystopic universe even more powerful, since it's closer than you'd want to admit to our own. On a side note, the 'I love you so much I could burst into flames' exchange is probably one of my favourite bits of literature ever.