Philip Ridley's The Pitchfork Disney is a combination of 'tickles and terror'
'Ridley’s stories make your heart beat faster' - director Eve Nicol
With Philip Ridley’s visceral Dark Vanilla Jungle having conquered the Edinburgh Fringe last year, the revival of his first play from back in 1991 is a reminder that he was a pioneer of the aggressive ‘neo-brutalist’ style that has defined new British theatre.
‘Ridley’s stories make your heart beat faster,’ says director Eve Nicol. ‘His lyrical barbarism can be real Marmite work – you’ll love it or hate it – but his distinctive voice comes from a place of honesty and is fuelled by love for people and their survival instinct.’
The Pitchfork Disney teeters between naturalistic horror and surreal fantasy: after the death of their parents, the Stray twins have hidden themselves away, paranoid and sugar-addicted. When Cosmo Disney arrives, he appears to be offering an escape until, inevitability, horror ensues.
Ridley’s distinctive style is disorientating and sinister. Dread is always lurking and innocence itself is already corrupted: the Stray twins are a magnificent tragi-comic creation, cocooning themselves in silly stories and compulsive chocolate consumption.
Nicol believes that intensity is the key to Ridley’s charm. ‘The play is an hour and a half straight through with little relief for either the cast or audience. But once you’ve worked your way through to the other end of the tickles and terror, it is deeply rewarding.’
Tron Theatre, Glasgow, Tue 25–Sun 29 Mar.