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Pub theatre: Vincent River at the Landor

VincentRiver1_web Have a bit of a fascination with Philip Ridley plays as he has a tendency to throw in something shocking, disturbing or deeply moving.

Vincent River is the fourth play of his I've seen and is celebrating it's 10th anniversary being performed in an intimate space above the Landor Pub in Clapham.

It is a two-hander, set in a dingy East End flat belonging to Anita who's son was recently brutally murdered. Anita is not only haunted by the circumstances surrounding her son's death but by a teenage boy, Davey, who seems to be following her around.

What ensues is an initially awkward conversation between Davey and Anita but oiled by bottle of gin, painkillers and a spliff, becomes a confessional for repressed feelings and a final facing up to the truth.

Davey is the one who found the body but it is obvious from the start that there is more to his involvement than merely being the discoverer. Likewise Anita has her own secrets and in revealing them is able to finally accept her son's homosexuality and learn how it was he died.

Two former Eastenders' actors take on the roles: Nicola Duffett and Elliott Jordan. The acting was a little stiff to start with but they both got into their stride as the play progressed culminating in tender and emotional performances that had me not only crying but also getting a bit snotty. 

It's not the most polished of productions or performances but it is very moving. In some ways it is a shame it is playing in such a small theatre - there were about thirty of us watching - but I'm selfishly glad it is because it does feel like you are sitting there on the edge of the sofa with Anita and Davey.

It finishes in a week and only costs around a £12 to see - theatre doesn't come more intimate than this.

Reviews from the usual sources seem to be thin on the ground on this one so I can't give my usual list of professional opinions. So, in lieu of review links here's a link to my own review of the first Philip Ridley play I saw, Leaves of Glass, at the Soho theatre. It was also the first play in which I saw the wonderful Ben Whishaw and the only time, so far, that I've been hit by something flying off the stage.

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