Fringe preview: Tonight with Donny Stixx

This article is from 2015

Fringe preview: Tonight with Donny Stixx

Philip Ridley's new work highlights celebrity culture

Philip Ridley – visual artist, filmmaker and the playwright behind some of the most shocking scripts of the past decade – returns to the Fringe after his success with Dark Vanilla Jungle. Yet while Dark Vanilla told a tale of female exploitation, his new work highlights a chaotic, celebrity-obsessed and violent masculine crisis. Tonight with Donny Stixx features an anti-hero who believes that his monstrous behaviour is no barrier to a career as a host on his own TV show.

‘It’s a companion piece,’ Ridley says, ‘it shares certain scenes and for those people that know Dark Vanilla Jungle, I think it will be an interesting story to sit through because there are certain connections and parallels.’

The production, mounted by director David Mercatali with Sean Michael Verey as Donny Stixx, is enacted in Ridley’s intense stripped-back style. Ridley says: ‘I’m more interested in smaller spaces with audiences that feel part of the action, involved, that can see the sweat on an actor’s brow. To see an actor go through an overwhelming emotion in front of you is still the most thrilling and life changing experience that you can have.’

Ridley says that Tonight with Donny Stixx ‘deals with a terrible act of violence and it deals with this new phenomenon we have of public shaming. So the protagonist is a boy who has ambitions in show business but the way that pans out is actually …’ Ridley pauses coquettishly. ‘Well … I think you’ll have to come and see the play.’

Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, 8–31 Aug (not 18, 25), 2.45pm, £10–£12 (£9–£11). Previews Wed 5–Fri 7 Aug, £7.

Tonight with Donny Stixx

  • 4 stars

Written originally as the companion piece to Fringe First winning Dark Vanilla Jungle, this brutal monologue is the story of a vulnerable young person pushed to a violent edge.