There’s no doubting that Philip Ridley’s debut play, even now, feels like a strange beast; a modern fairytale of two infantalised and orphaned twins, Presley and Haley, somehow isolated from the world and spending their time sleeping or gorging on chocolate and horror stories.
Both Alan MacKenzie and Lucy Goldie seriously impress.
In this new production by Glasgow-based Heroes Theatre, both Alan MacKenzie and Lucy Goldie seriously impress as these agoraphobic, self-medicating modern-day Hansel and Gretel; excitedly telling tales to each other to keep the world outside at bay, not least those featuring rabid dogs, child-killers and nebulous foreigners. It’s a surprisingly verbal play, full of images that leave a bad taste in the mouth; yet the worst thing is how MacKenzie and Goldie perfectly inhabit that lack of understanding of personal space that’s inherent in children and yet disturbingly erotic in adults. It visualises, very simply, the unhealthy basis of their lives.For a time, you wonder how their apocalyptic visions of the end of the world –and their survival, because of their inherent goodness – marry with the mundane day-to-day necessity of popping down to the shops for fresh supplies of Cadbury’s Fruit ’n’Nut. But it’s perhaps best to let go of such realistic concerns early on; not least when watching a set consisting of a single red leather sofa and walls made of glittering silver strands.
Unsettling, and yet darkly beautiful, this new production of The Pitchfork Disney is an exciting sign of a new creative company which has certainly hit the ground running. “You know how easily horrible things can happen,”says a despairing Haley at one point. And they certainly do once Presley –lonely as Haley sleeps –effectively drags the mysterious Cosmo Disney off the street. Lean, mean and disconcertingly wearing a sparkling red jacket, this cockroach-crunching showman doesn’t have a broken bone in his body or a filling in his mouth. He’s beautiful, he knows it and, as a result, doesn’t want to be physically touched. Not by Presley, anyway. Stephen Humpage brings a sharp edge to Cosmo, not least when you can see him beginning to work out how he can get Presley out of the way and so have Haley to himself.