Vernon God Little at ALRA

Having seen ALRA twice before (Red Noses at RNCM and Spur of the Moment at Re:Play), it was good to see an ALRA production at ‘home’ at The Mill at the Pier in Wigan.   Vernon God Little tells the story of 15 year old Vernon whose best friend Jesus kills his classmates.  Vernon then goes on the run, is tricked into admitting murder, and sent to Death Row.  It’s a black comedy about America, justice and the role of the media, played to a country music soundtrack.

Tom Perrin is superb as Vernon, fully creating the rebellious but naive teenager that believes justice will prevail.  Ably supported by non-speaking Matt Holt as Jesus, the two form a Calvin and Hobbes style relationship which works well for this play.  The cast generally perform well, and there are some great moments including the opening scene with Vaine (Rhiannon Kearns), and Lasalle (Kate Huntsman) and Vernon on Death Row .  However there are times where characters lack depth and interchanges lack emotion.

The set is quite minimal with the exception of a back wall with a door, which is also used for projections of TV reports.  Singing is done with a wired microphone which gives this play a surreal feel.

There are areas that needs work.  For a play with audience on three sides, it is remarkably end-on, with some scenes too static to work properly for anyone at the sides.  At times, the play struggles to maintain its pace and energy, especially where actors do not create characters with sufficient conviction to drive the scene.  In places it just feels too quick, and the real drama is lost.

Nevertheless, this is an interesting play with some very good performances.


Theatre lover, amateur director, occasional actor, writer.

One Response to “Vernon God Little at ALRA”

  1. Jo Huntsman says:

    What a thoughtful review – tells us all we need to know really. Looking forward to seeing the show on Saturday. JH

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