Review: Dark Vanilla Jungle, Soho Theatre

I never miss a chance to see a Philip Ridley play. Titles such as this and Mercury Fur tend to be incomprehensible but he writes extremely powerful plays that are unlike those of anyone else. Apart from the underlying power and a certain strangeness, each of his plays is also very different from the others. Gemma Whelan, who was excellent in One Man, Two Guvnors when I saw that at the Theatre Royal Haymarket, delivers an astonishingly emotional performance. This is the Soho Theatre Upstairs, so there is no stage, just the floor she stands on. There is also no scenery and there are no other actors. There is no explanation of why she is talking to us: is she in group therapy, giving a witness statement, a police interview or what? I have just deleted a long paragraph trying to give some of my thoughts on this play but it’s too difficult without givin the whole story. This is a deep, dark play that will stick in my mind for a very long time. Just go and see it and make your own mind up. One thing I’m sure you’ll agree on is that this is one of the best performances by any actor on any London stage today.

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