Mercury Fur

"If you want to see the best show in town, head down to Theatreworks and buy a ticket to Mercury Fur. It is, quite simply, brilliant theatre ... Ben Packer's production powerfully realises the extremities of the play ... Packer has elicited some extraordinary performances. As Elliot, (Luke) Mullins strengthens his claim to be the best actor of his generation. He is breathtakingly good, leavening his disillusioned, dead-eyed menace with a profound tenderness. Young actor Russ Pirie gives another standout performance as the transvestite Lola, and Fiona Macys, playing the blind Duchess, is a revelation ... It's provocative and thoughtful theatre, but definitely not for the faint-hearted." The Australian Alison Croggon, September 3, 2007

"... (D)irector Ben Packer and his cast portray this disturbing world with energy and commitment. (Luke) Mullins is compelling and restrained as Elliot. (Xavier) Samuel plays the damaged Darren with a pained desperation. (Aaron) Orzech finds a sweet and trusting naivete in Naz and (Russ) Pirie is creditably underplayed as the drag queen, Lola." Herald Sun Kate Herbert, September 3, 2007

"Show of the week **** ... (T)he sheer frantic giddiness of its scatter-shot approach will ensure that any audience member will find multiple points of contact to pursue. The extended monologues which punctuate the piece, especially, are some of the most effective heart-stoppers seen here recently ... The performances are roundly excellent ... Credit should also go to designer Adam Gardnir and lighting designer Danny Pettingill's rich set, junk given a holy glow by a wall of red and yellow globes. Like the play, it's an unflinching image of decay and horror with the hypnotic pull of a flickering candle - or a city in flames." The Sunday Age John Bailey, September 9, 2007

"... (T)he Australian premiere should win over all but the most squeamish. It's a black diamond, cut and polished, and makes enthralling theatre ... The cast gives a strong and dramatically focused ensemble performance ... Kelly Ryall's subliminal industrial soundscape evokes an insidious sense of dread. Director Ben Packer has a wonderful sense of pace: the two hours glide by ... You can take what you like from this bleak and brilliant play ... Only one thing's for sure - you won't forget it." The Age Cameron Woodhead, September 1, 2007

"It's a recognisable world but shifted, mainly due to edible psychedelic butterflies, helpfully colour-coded. By ingesting a wing or two, all manner of dark visions and violent re-enactments are obtainable, with memory loss as the side effect. It's in this territory, despite the work's grimy sleaze and deliberate shock attempts, that Phillip Ridley's recent play works best. A world of scrappy, subsistence-level chancers desperately tell and make up stories that, no matter how silly (the Hitler/Kennedy/Monroe war is particularly good), fulfil baser functions: connection, real or imagined, and the illusion that there should be touchstones of truth that all can vaguely agree on." Sydney Morning Herald Stephen Dunne, October 1, 2007

"It's thoroughly nasty stuff delivered with enough humour, intelligence and relevance to justify its worst aspects ... One of the work's strengths is its openness—an audience member's sense of the piece's target could easily vary significantly from that of the person they're sitting next to ... Little Death's version doesn't revel in its monstrosity but respects the bleak vision it requires. Mullins embraces an atypical role, bringing a convincing rough-hewn edge to Elliot. Aaron Orzech is a discovery as the naïf Naz, and Kelly Ryall's understated score along with Danny Pettingill's magnificent lighting bank lend an urgency to the piece that scoffs at the nay-sayers. Here's hoping for a return season after its Sydney appearance." Realtime issue 81 John Bailey, Oct-Nov 2007


sydney arts journo

Spark Online

Australian Stage Online

mono no aware

esoteric rabbit

mink tails

velvet mafia


musings of a rambling idiot

Complete text reviews (click to view) -
The Age/Herald Sun/Inpress/Beat

Photo: Luke Mullins as Elliot (photograph by Dan Stainsby)


Elliot - Luke Mullins
Darren - Xavier Samuel
Naz - Aaron Orzech
Lola - Russ Pirie
Spinx - Gareth Ellis 
Duchess - Fiona Macys-Marzo
Party Guest - Paul Ashcroft
Party Piece - Wazzadeeno Wharton-Thomas


Director - Ben Packer 
Designer - Adam Gardnir
Original Music and Sound Design - Kelly Ryall 
Lighting Design - Danny Pettingill 
Co-Costume and Makeup Design - Commandor Starfire
Assistant Director - Christian Whitehead 
Stage Manager - Jess Keepence 
Producers - Erin Thomas and Ingrid Johnston

Strangers in Between

Strangers in Between
Aljin Abella - Photo by Ken Nakanishi