Masterful acting from Gemma Whelan (Game of Thrones, One Man, Two Guvnors) in Dark Vanilla Jungle, a captivating and moving drama about a young, broken girl in a situation far away from anything we can imagine in our own lives. Whelan holds the audience single-handed for over an hour with a gripping monologue to tell this story.
From the moment she assumes the stage, she controls the audience and draws them into her character’s world. Andrea is a nervous, anxious, frantic young woman, yet she is charming and intriguing. The audience are drawn to empathize with her. The first bite of the dark underside of her character is shocking, as the atmosphere flashes from light and jovial to stormy and deep. At times screaming at the audience and sobbing on the floor and at others lightly dancing across the stage and telling jokes, this show will keep you on the edge of your seat as Andrea’s past and present is uncovered.
Philip Ridley (author of The Pitchfork Disney and award winning film The Krays) has created an intense, and at times undeniably funny script (although it’s one of those where you probably shouldn’t be laughing). He explores the dark issues of sexual abuse, gang culture and damaged psyches in a poignant and moving tale, well fitted to the talents of the brilliant Gemma Whelan.