For the next month the Young Vic Theatre will be home to Tanya Ronder’s hilarious adaptation of Man Booker Prize-winning novel, Vernon God Little, by DBC Pierre.
Bitingly satirical, the story follows fifteen-year-old Vernon on his journey through central Texas and his subsequent escape to Mexico after being accused of being ‘an accessory to murder’ in a high school massacre. The ten-strong line-dancing, instrument-playing, all-singing cast effortlessly take on over forty-five roles throughout the evening, providing intricately observed American stereotypes whilst poignantly indicating certain truths about our media-hungry, reality-television obsessed society. From soul-singing high court judges, to a ‘vote-for-which-death-row-inmate-dies-next’ television programme, the show’s fast-paced story constantly takes new turns so you can never predict what is going to happen next.
i-D Online spoke to newcomer and recent drama school graduate Joseph Drake, who plays Vernon, to find out more about the show:
Why do you think the play has been revived now? Is it a response to the current political or social climate? I think it’s the sort of play and book that is always relevant politically; mass-hysteria; American media. I think the director Rufus Norris wanted to put it on again mainly because it was so much fun last time!
Tell me about your character, Vernon… He’s likeable and innocent. The audience should always side with him. I’ve tried to make him truthful to what your average fifteen-year-old would feel like faced with some of the situations he is, because lots of them are quite radical!
Is there lots of music in the show? The music is amazing, there’s loads of singing and backing music: Bye Bye Blackbird, Galveston, some Johnny Cash and things like that. There’s also a court scene with two electric guitar playing attorneys – it’s very effective in making it clear that it’s a staged court hearing.
If you could describe the show in three words, what would they be? Hysterical, moving, uplifting.
Vernon God Little plays at the Young Vic until 12th March.