Fear No Colours Theatre Company, Wee Dram, 13th March 2016
The mismatched chairs and crammed-in-willy-nilly vibe of Wee Dram serve to make the launch night of theatre company Fear No Colours’ new season feel more like a gathering of pals in a parent’s basement – and this is no bad thing. The small room is packed, which is, of course, exactly what you’re after, and everyone seems prepared to have a good time.The entertainment for the evening ranges from the softly melodic to the freakishly unsettling, making it about as cohesive as the seating arrangements. Again, this is no bad thing.
The acts which take place throughout the evening consist of various singers and songwriters, interspersed with monologues and excerpts which give the audience a taste of what to expect in Fear No Colours’ upcoming season. Highlights are singer Sam Begbie, whose songs strike a perfect balance between catchy and poignant and leave the entire room enthralled, and the first fifteen minutes of Mercury Fur, performed by Raymond Wilson and Callum Partridge. Completely at odds with the chilled and enjoyable atmosphere created by the music, the pieces performed by FNC members are little short of disturbing (albeit in a very good way).
Mercury Fur, by Philip Ridley, premiered in 2005 and was subject to major backlash due to its gruesome subject matter. FNC admit this is what drew them to the play in the first place, and after their success at the Fringe last year with Sarah Kane’s Cleansed, which is similarly dark and unsettling, they seem set to impress again.
The first fifteen minutes of the play showed two brothers getting an unspecified location ready for a party – one is drugged, under the influence of something called a ‘butterfly’, and his brother is furious at him for having taken it. Their conversation ranges from a vicious tirade of insults thrown at the intoxicated brother from the other, to professions of intense love and even a childhood game. This vertiginous leap from one extreme to the other succeeds in giving the piece an unnerving quality which leaves you wondering what could possibly happen next.
In order to find that out, FNC’s Mercury Fur is premiering – along with another Philip Ridley piece Dark Vanilla Jungle – in Glasgow in the Gilmorehill G12 theatre on May 4th before heading for the Fringe. If the sneak peek is anything to go by, it promises to be a performance that stays with the audience member for a long time after they’ve seen it.
[Caitlin Walker –@hirquitallient]
Image: Fear No Colours