Radiant Vermin: the Director’s Preview

Jack King tells us about directing the dark, satirical comedy which is our first show of the 2019 season.

What resonated with you about this play to make you want to direct it?

Ridley’s writing is what first drew me in, and once I’d read it over a couple of times I really found myself wrangling with the big questions that Ridley asks about modern society. I decided that I had to put the show on so that I could share my angst about what I’d do in these situations with everyone else!


What themes does the play explore?

One of the things I love about this play is just how many themes it tackles. It looks at the class divide, holds a mirror up a society that Ridley believes is overly materialistic, and it shines a light on the issue of homelessness.

But ultimately, it’s a story about modern life. Specifically, the central question Ridley explores is how much we con ourselves into believing we are acting for higher reasons, when in truth it’s all about self-interest.

What’s been challenging about directing this play?

The first challenge was whittling down the huge number of talented people who auditioned in order to get the right cast! Ridley’s a tremendous writer, so the biggest challenge after making those decisions has been doing justice to the words he’s put on the page.

There is also a particularly challenging scene towards the end of the play which has taken a lot of time in our rehearsals, but you’ll have to come and see the show to find out about that!

What do you think the audience will take away from it?

If we get the performance right, and with the cast we have I know we will, then they’ll go away asking themselves whether they could bring themselves to do what Jill & Ollie do? They’ll also probably pay a bit more attention to homeless people from now on….

Radiant Vermin runs from 8 – 12 January at the Old Fire Station, and tickets are on sale here.

Photographs by Ben Rathe