|Jack DiFalco, Zane Pais|
Photo: Monique Carboni
[here be spoilers]
According to the New York Times, Mercury Fur was quite controversial in its London run and "spurred several friends to break with Mr. Ridley; his publisher, Faber & Faber, refused to issue the script." I find this surprising. Yes, the play is brutal. Yes, it shows the depths to which people will sink when they have no options. Yes, it does occasionally veer into the gratuitous. But it is ultimately, I think, a deeply moral work. The main characters have done horrible things to survive, but here they discover their limits.
The parties in Mercury Fur allow sadists to indulge their most repulsive fantasies, and Elliot and Darren have been complicit in torture and murder of strangers. But when someone they know becomes the victim, they can no longer play along, even though they've just met him. They've interacted enough to recognize his humanity. So they save him, at the literal cost of their own lives.
[end of spoilers]
At the beginning of Mercury Fur, I was pretty sure I was going to hate it. I ended up respecting it (enjoying it is simply not an option). I think a 90-minute version might be brilliant and devastating.
(third row on the aisle; press ticket)