Dark Vanilla Jungle, Traverse Theatre, Review

Rating (out of 5)
Show details
Supporting Wall
David Mercateli (director), Will Young (producer)
Gemma Whelan
Running time

Dark Vanilla Jungle is an hour and twenty minute monologue. Detailing the journey of an underprivileged young woman’s life it touches on themes such as abandonment and female objectification.

Some descriptions are shocking – particularly her account of the gang rape she experienced which had been instigated by a man she trusted.

Performed on a bare stage, Gemma Whelan, who portrayed the character, wore a simple non-descript outfit of leggings, tee-shirt and plimsolls – perhaps to exaggerate her ordinariness.

Philip Ridley's script is emotionally charged, but the performance wasn’t varied enough for it to be fully appreciated.

Whelan, in super-overdrive throughout, was constantly shouting and due to the lack of variety in delivering the text her performance ultimately lacked dramatic effect. There were no quiet moments for us to contemplate what had actually been said, or moments when we could contemplate her vulnerability.

Events appeared to be glossed over although perhaps that was the director, David Mercatali’s, intention to emphasize how young people cope with major, traumatic events by making light of them.

Overall, this ultimately lacked the punch to create a really dramatic effect.

Run ended

Read Vivien Devlin's review of Dark Vanilla Jungle at Fringe 2013