Shivered-Philip Ridley


First per­formed at the South­wark Play­house in Lon­don on March 9, 2012.

Orig­i­nal Cast:

Alec—a  20-year-old sol­dier                      Rob­bie Jarvis-Dean
Ryan—a twelve-year-old boy                    Joseph Drake
Jack—a twelve-year-old boy                     Joshua Williams
Lyn—Alec and Ryan’s mom                       Olivia Poulet
Gordy—in his twen­ties, a con man           Andrew Haw­ley
Evie—Jack’s obese mother                      Amanda Daniels
Mikey—Alec and Ryan’s dad                     Simon Lena­gan

Direc­tor:  Rus­sell Bolam
Scenic and Cos­tume Design:  Anthony Lam­ble
Light­ing Design:  Richard How­ell
Sound Design:  Tom Gibbons

Pub­li­ca­tion:  Rid­ley, Philip. Shiv­ered. Drama­tists Play Ser­vice, Inc., 2013. Drama Library Stacks PR6068.I292 S38 2013.

Set­ting:  Draylingstowe in Essax, an auto­mo­tive fac­tory town that has gone bust.

Lan­guage:  Contemporary


No, mate!  My legs’re fuck­ing hurt­ing.  I can feel the veins knot­ting together like… like knotting-together stuff.  They hurt! Fuck!

Genre/Style:   Dramatic/comedy

Plot:   Ryan and Jack are two twelve-year-old boys look­ing for aliens.  Ryan’s  brother, Alec, was a sol­dier whose behead­ing by the enemy was filmed and shared on the inter­net.  Ryan’s dad, a for­mer auto­mo­tive fac­tory worker, has gone miss­ing; and his mother can’t cope with their son’s death.  The play is frag­mented and the scenes are out of order, reflect­ing the frag­men­ta­tion of modern-day life and illu­mi­nat­ing often-overlooked details with the ben­e­fit of hind­sight.  The first act works bet­ter than the sec­ond, but the lan­guage and themes remain affect­ing.  Although the boys are twelve in the play, teens or col­lege aged actors would be appro­pri­ate as the sub­ject mat­ter is quite mature.


Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mono­logues:  Mono­logues con­tain the first few lines and the last few lines; please con­sult the pub­lished text for the mono­logue in its entirety.

p.25:  Jack tells Ryan what hap­pened to this girl at school who didn’t want to watch the video of Ryan’s brother being beheaded.


There was this girl. Gemma Burns. She’s the year above me. She said she thought watch­ing some­thing like that was dis­gust­ing. She don’t watch any­thing. Not even  bull­fights or dogs being sick. She’s a right stuck-up cunt.  [Lines cut] Reece Jack­son said they should break into Gemma’s bed­room one night and hold her down like they did in the toi­lets, only this time make her watch the film of her throw­ing up while watch­ing your brother’s head being cut off. I said, if they did that, I’d like to be the one to film it. (Slight pause.) I think it’s a fake anyway.

p.33:  Gordy tells Lyn what hap­pens to grey­hounds once they stop racing.


You know what hap­pens to grey­hounds when they stop win­ning races. They’re killed. That was my job. I’d take them to the wood at the back of the sta­dium. I’d tie their leads round branches. Leave them to hang.  [Lines cut] Next time I did it, word had spread. There were twice as many peo­ple. I charged them money. Every time I did it the audi­ence grew. I made more money from killing the dogs than my neigh­bor did from rac­ing them. (Slight pause) Wanna meet later?


Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Scenes:  Scenes con­tain the first person’s lines and the last person’s lines; please con­sult the pub­lished text for the scene in its entirety.

p. 10–12:  Ryan and Jack are watch­ing the canal and wait­ing for the alien mon­ster to appear so that Ryan can take a pic­ture of it.  Starts with


Okay… If any­thing comes out of the canal—We’re ready!

and ends with


I see it! (Jack and Ryan scream.)

p.27–29:  The first time Jack and Ryan meet.  Jack is hid­ing out from a group of bul­lies and Ryan is try­ing to find evi­dence of aliens to prove his dad isn’t crazy.   Starts with


What are you doing?

and ends with



p.38–40:  Jack and Ryan are again wait­ing for aliens.  Ryan shows Jack how to draw aliens.  Dur­ing their les­son, Jack con­vinces Ryan to look at the video of Ryan’s brother being beheaded. At the end of the scene Ryan beats Jack uncon­scious and leaves him.  The beat­ing leaves Jack brain dead.   Starts with


You mean… aliens look like snakes.

and ends with


Fuck me, no need for that, mate. Jesus. (Strug­gles to get up.) Help me up, mate… Come on… My bones are bend­ing in this position—Shit! Shit! (Ryan picks up a piece of rub­ble.) Come on, mate.   (Ryan strikes Jack with rub­ble.) Mate, what’s that for? Come on! (Slight pause. Ryan strikes Jack again.) There no need for—Mate! Don’t! (Ryan hits Jack some more. Jack is scream­ing now.) Stop it, mate. It’s fuck­ing hurt­ing… Don’t! Mate! Let’s do some draw­ing. (Ryan con­tin­ues to strike Jack.) Let’s do… some drawing…


Select Bib­li­og­ra­phy of Reviews and Crit­i­cism:  (Note:  arti­cle title links are to the online ver­sions, mostly UW-only restricted unless des­ig­nated as open access.)

Bowie-Sell, D. (2012, Apr 2). Shiv­ered, South­wark Play­house, review. [open access] The Tele­graph.

Costa, M. (2012, Mar 15). Shivered—review. [open access] The Guardian.

Purves, L. (2012, Mar 15). It’s grim­mer down south; Philip Ridley’s vio­lent new Essex drama leaves Libby Purves unmoved. The Times (Lon­don), pp.12.

Tay­lor, P.  (2012, Mar 15). Shiv­ered, South­wark Play­house, Lon­don. [open access] The Inde­pen­dent.


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