A Philip Ridley world premiere is something to cheer and fear in equal measure. At his best, as in his 1991 debut play 'The Pitchfork Disney' and 2015’s political chiller 'Radiant Vermin', Ridley is peerlessly macabre, inventing abstract fairytale worlds which twist reality and the supernatural into one.
While ‘Angry’ isn’t his best, it does have all the Ridley hallmarks: gruesome images, teenage love, cruelty and despair. It’s a series of six monologues (although that term is optimistically applied for one or two of them, which only last about three minutes). Tyrone Huntley performs three of them, Georgie Henley the others. Each night the two actors switch which monologues they perform, with each of the micro-stories being gender-neutral so that anyone of any gender can perform them.
Max Lindsay’s direction brings out big, gesturing performances from the two performers. Huntley we know can act. He was a knockout Judas in Regent’s Park’s 'Jesus Christ Superstar', and gets to show great range here as he quickly inhabits different characters. He’s particularly good in ‘Bloodshot’ which describes a first, fleeting sexual encounter.
But Henley is the surprise. She’s a familiar face, having played Lucy Pevensie in the 'Chronicles of Narnia' films, but hasn’t done much acting since then, instead going to Cambridge to study. So this is her professional stage debut - and it’s a bloody knockout.
In ‘Okay’ she repeats her lines faster and faster like she’s possessed, and in the final 40 minute powerhouse ‘Air’ she plays a young woman taking her last breaths in a sunken boat at the bottom of the sea. Her swift changes in demeanour, accent and posture are incredibly accomplished.
There’s a really cool set by James Donnelly, a sunken black pit beautifully matched with Cassie Mitchell’s grid of fierce neon strip lighting. It looks a bit like those dance machines you get in arcades.
Although a decent showcase for the actors - and it would be interesting to see them the other way around - the monologues are also inconsistent, not only in length but quality too.