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Nathan Fayard

Mercury Fur at the Menier Chocolate Factory

Mercury Fur, is a very well written and very well acted, but ultimately horrifying piece of drama. It is simply impossible to deny the calibre of this production; however the worth of this product of obvious skill is very questionable.

When the audience enters they pass through a ruined child's room, complete with ripped up comic books and destroyed dolls. The main stage is through this slightly unnerving entrance, and it is littered with rubbish and full of overturned bits of furniture.

The best part of the night is after you take your seat, while you watch the rest of the audience trickling in and tripping over different objects in the dark.

Throughout the greater portion of the performance, the exact aim and nature of plot remains quite ambiguous, but some dark purpose is being constantly hinted at.

It begins with Elliot and Darren, two mismatched brothers, arriving at an abandoned house to prepare for some mysterious party, and things quickly become complicated from there.

The first section is full of good, snappy dialogue, and a fair amount of slightly dark humour. However, the humour quickly dissipates, and is replaced by a pervading sense of desperation.

After the humour fades, the horror sets in. To the writer's credit, not much of the really alarming material is actually paraded out on stage, only hinted at and done off screen. Still, several of the characters give graphic speeches which are enough to trouble the most hardened of constitutions.

The subjects of those speeches will probably haunt the audience long after they leave the theatre, and whatever poignancy is to be found in those moments is lost in the abject revulsion they produce.

In the end, this is a flawless performance, but one that is marred with unnecessary lewdness. If you enjoy pluming the depths of human depravity or are simply not bothered by dialogue of the utmost graphic nature, then this may be an entertaining show for you.

• Mercury Fur, part of Paines Plough's 'This Other England' season, is at the Menier Chocolate Factory in Southwark Street until Sunday 27 March.

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