Within Phillip Ridleys writing is a warped maze of desperation, attraction and chaos; and Dark Vanilla Jungle does not disappoint. Brought to the stage by Supporting Walls and currently touring the UK, I was able to catch it in the Wales Millennium Centre’s Urdd Hall this evening after missing out in Edinburgh last summer.
Andrea’s tale of growing up and her need for love, is gripping from Gemma Whelan’s first steps in to the room, as she aims her stories, queries and insults to the audience members surrounding her. As her thoughts and stories unravel with tales of herons on islands and leaving shopping in car parks, Andrea (Whelan) leaps seamlessly between innocent childhood, life as a vulnerable manipulated teen and comparatively as an independent yet needy young woman.
The intense power of a single monologue is hugely apparent in this Supported Wall’s production with 80 minutes flying by caught up in the struggles and highs of Andrea’s life. Emotive, gripping and completely on it throughout, an incredibly honest and bare-faced performance from the incredibly talented Gemma Whelan.
Dark Vanilla Jungle is currently touring the UK after huge success at the Edinburgh Fringe: follow @SupportingWall on Twitter for further updates and details.