Vernon God Little, Citizens' Theatre, Glasgow

Several shots in the dark

The latest in an illustrious line-up of dark literary adaptations at the Citizens Theatre is the world premiere of Andrea Hart's stylish stage version of D B C Pierre's 2003 Booker prize-winning Vernon God Little, the final instalment in an experimental five-week ensemble season.

When the Texan teenager Jesus takes out 16 classmates in a killing-spree at Martirio High, all fingers point to the 15-year-old Vernon Gregory Little. Scapegoat Vernon wasn't there, but he can't prove it - or, at least, he can, but it's kind of embarrassing.

Lustily delving into his pants at the mention of his dream-girl Taylor, Vernon, a modern-day teen innocent, knows where to find a gun and how best to dispose of an acid tab in an emergency. It doesn't matter that he's a softie who looks out for his self-obsessed mum. Vernon is always "last seen" where something bad happened.

Kenny Miller's production takes pick'n'mix Deep South stereotyping and stuffs it into one bulging sweetie bag. It works only because it goes too far. This is white-trash Hicksville, the heartland of "dumber than you" police officers in "POLICE" T-shirts. In a world where everyone's got a gun, you need some way of working out who's got the final shot.

In cahoots with the ravenous media, the police are gluttons with hickory hot sauce running down their chins. Even the judge is got up Ku-Klux-Klan style. With a bit of state-sanctioned killing thrown in and a Big Brother Death Row TV show (if you win, you die), DBC Pierre is poking his pointy stick at a larger target than Texan small-town values. But whether this production hits that target is another matter.

There's a clever, almost cartoonish set, with pink dinosaurs pinned upside down to the ceiling, choked with twinkling fairy lights and teddy bears bound with ribbon to wooden crosses. "I went to Martirio and all I got was this lousy exit wound," blares a T-shirt as media frenzy drives the ghoul dollar through the roof of the BBQ shack.

Miller, director and designer, has his own OTT style, a sort of carnival catastrophe of bodily fluids and barbecue sauce. It's all a bit makeshift, deliberately so, but very slick. The problem is, we never know who is really talking. Vernon (sensitively played by Pete Ashmore) may be spouting a lot of words, but he can't hold it together in a production that doesn't resolve the credibility problems of the more outlandish aspects of the novel.

In this adaptation, Vernon's mother isn't so much dippy as completely off the wall, praying for her "side by side" fridge and caring more about the slimy repair-man turned media mogul Eulalio Ledesma than her own son. Being romanced by a TV god is more attractive than having to face up to the darkness of your only child being a Columbinesque killer.

If you haven't read Pierre's novel, you'll be mighty stuck about what's going on in this Deep South odyssey, let alone where it's going on: a few accents wander randomly from continent to continent, with a rather obfuscatory effect on Pierre's juiced-up, heavily imaged language. In this blasting succession of dream-like sequences, it is sometimes hard to keep the thread.

And when it comes to "who shot who?", if you're a Vernon virgin, it may well be a mystery deeper than that of Little's strange bowel affliction. But you'll probably enjoy the journey.

To 23 October (0141-429 0022)

Arts and Entertainment
Reawakening: can Jon Hamm’s Don Draper find enlightenment in the final ‘Mad Men’?
tv reviewNot quite, but it's an enlightening finale for Don Draper spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Breakfast Show’s Nick Grimshaw

Radio
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
'Youth' cast members Paul Dano, Jane Fonda, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, and Michael Caine pose for photographers at Cannes Film Festival
film
Arts and Entertainment
Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward and Robin in the 1960s Batman TV show

Comics
Arts and Entertainment
I am flute: Azeem Ward and his now-famous instrument
music
Arts and Entertainment
A glass act: Dr Chris van Tulleken (left) and twin Xand get set for their drinking challenge
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
MIA perform at Lovebox 2014 in London Fields, Hackney

music
Arts and Entertainment
Finnish punk band PKN hope to enter Eurovision 2015 and raise awareness for Down's Syndrome

eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
William Shakespeare on the cover of John Gerard's The Herball or Generall Historie of Plantes

books
Arts and Entertainment

Game of Thrones review
Arts and Entertainment
Grayson Perry dedicates his Essex home to Julie

Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treat

tv
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the original Swedish version of the sci-fi TV drama ‘Real Humans’
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Hugh Keays-Byrne plays Immortan Joe, the terrifying gang leader, in the new film
filmActor who played Toecutter returns - but as a different villain in reboot
Arts and Entertainment
Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road
film
Arts and Entertainment
Jessica Hynes in W1A
tvReview: Perhaps the creators of W1A should lay off the copy and paste function spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Power play: Mitsuko Uchida in concert

classical
Arts and Entertainment
Dangerous liaisons: Dominic West, Jake Richard Siciliano, Maura Tierney and Leya Catlett in ‘The Affair’ – a contradictory drama but one which is sure to reel the viewers in
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Herring, pictured performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival two years ago
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
Music freak: Max Runham in the funfair band
theatre
Arts and Entertainment
film 'I felt under-used by Hollywood'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

    Sun, sex and an anthropological study

    One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
    From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

    Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

    'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
    'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

    Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

    This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

    Songs from the bell jar

    Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
    How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

    One man's day in high heels

    ...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

    Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
    The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

    King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

    The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

    End of the Aussie brain drain

    More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
    Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

    Can meditation be bad for you?

    Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
    Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

    Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

    Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
    Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

    Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

    Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
    Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

    Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

    Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
    Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

    Join the tequila gold rush

    The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
    12 best statement wallpapers

    12 best statement wallpapers

    Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
    Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

    Paul Scholes column

    Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?