Review: The Sword of Alex, White Bear - power and violence overshadows identity debate
Review: The Other Place, Park Theatre - finding truth in imagined memories

From the archives: Colin Morgan's stage debut in Vernon God Little, Young Vic Theatre

It's a play I still remember fondly and I was right to think that Colin Morgan was 'one to watch'

Vernon god little young vic theatre colin morgan mariah gale
Colin Morgan in Vernon God Little, Young Vic Theatre, 2007

It's 10 years since the BBC's Merlin first aired, which I loved, but one of the reasons I started watching was because I'd seen Colin Morgan on stage a year earlier.

It was his stage debut as Vernon in Vernon God Little at the Young Vic in 2007. He was still at drama school when he was cast.

Rufus Norris directed (what happened to him ;0) and Mariah Gale was also in the cast and went on to play Ophelia opposite David Tennant's Hamlet.

There was no Rev Stan's Theatre Blog then but I did have a 'general thoughts' blog where I wrote about the play which I've reposted below. (Like to think my theatre writing has developed a bit in the past 11 years.)

It's a play I still remember fondly and I was right to think that Colin was 'one to watch' - my review may not come across overly enthusiastic but I was more restrained back in those days.

Reposted from Rev Stan's Other Stuff 8 June 2007:

Loved DBC Pierre's book when I read it a couple of years ago as it is clever and thought-provoking black comedy and thoroughly deserving of the accolades it received.

So I was curious to see how it was translated for the stage in this production at the Young Vic.

The book has many characters and many locations which must have presented a challenge for the production which ended up with just 10 actors. The stage sets and props were fairly minimal but imaginatively used.

Vernon God Little Young Vic colin morgan mariah gale
Colin Morgan and Mariah Gale in Vernon God Little Young Vic. Photo Alastair Muir.

There was a lot of movement on stage which built up a level of frenetic energy and tension that goes nicely with the story.

Nadia and I particularly liked the office chairs with steering wheels welded to them which were 'driven' around the stage and want one each for work...

Vernon is played by Colin Morgan who is making his professional debut - not bad for a first role.

The essence of the novel is there and the performances thorough with some real laugh out loud moments and great use of music and song at just the right moment.

However, some of the subtlety is inevitably lost in condensing the story into two and a half hours and the ending was a little rushed with the story somehow resolved all too easily, something I don't remember from the book.

There needs to be some work on the accents which strayed away from southern American drawl to Australian and even British west country occasionally.

And it may have been a result of the accents but the diction at times made it a difficult to understand what some characters were saying.

Overall thoroughly entertaining and worth a hearty applause but not a standing ovation.

Want to go and re-read the book now.

This post has been reformatted, typos/grammar has been corrected and dead links removed but otherwise, it is as originally published.


The same year I saw Colin make his stage debut I saw Ben Whishaw on stage for the first time although he'd already done Hamlet by that time. I  bought the ticket for Leaves of Glass at the Soho Theatre on a whim as I'd seen him in Perfume and I was picking up some tickets for comedy at the same venue.

It was quite an occasion as my review of the play describes.