My first introduction to Philip Ridley was thanks to Ben Whishaw appearing in Leaves of Glass at the Soho Theatre in 2007 (and the first time I saw Mr W on stage). It sparked an interest in Ridley's work that is yet to wane. I liked the gritty realism, laced with a touch of the fantastical.
He has a reputation for writing controversial pieces - Leaves of Glass is fairly sedate, I'm led to believe, from what I've read about his other work. Mr W appeared in Mercury Fur in 2005, described by The Stage as a 'theatrical thump in the solar plexus', and it remains top of my list of Ridley plays I've yet to see - I've been slowly ticking off his back catalogue as they reappear.
This year I saw his new play Tender Napalm, which certainly reaffirmed my love of his writing. So naturally I'm excited to read that there will be a double dose of Ridley next year, a revival of Pitchfork Disney at the Arcola in January followed by a new play, Shivered, at the Southwark Playhouse in March.
Pitchfork comes from way back in the archive, 1991 it was first performed, too early to read reviews online but it's known for heralding a period of theatre dubbed the 'nasty nineties'.
Shivered sounds equally intriguing and a return to the grim, gritty futuristic setting of plays like Pitchfork and Mercury. Naturally I'm reaching straight for the plastic fantastic to book tickets.
Casting hasn't been announced for either play but I'm wishing fervently that Ridley and Whishaw work together for a third time (it's been two years now since he was on the London stage). If that does prove true just remember where you read it first. And no, I definitely do not have any inside knowledge.
Picture is of Ben Whishaw in Mercury Fur