Dark Vanilla Jungle, Pleasance Courtyard ✭✭✭✭✭
Philip Ridley is a dark master. He has a powerful control of language, a genius’ macabre intellect and a stand-up comedian’s wit. His knack of opening doors to the foulest, most sordid recesses of our minds and dressing them in a lyricism of startling brilliance and dazzling virtuosity is a skill that many have emulated but none have achieved. In director David Mercatali, perhaps the greatest interpreter of Ridley’s work for the stage, Ridley has found a talent to match his – one can only hope that their creative partnership bears more fruit like this – a sickly sweet delight, rotting on the branch, depressingly beautiful and savagely poisonous. But the greatest director and playwright are nothing if their work cannot be realised by a fearless actor, attuned to their vision. In Dark Vanilla Jungle they have found the third part of their triumvirate – Gemma Whelan’s performance is incendiary. The audience were left shellshocked by this menage of writer, director and actor who left no stone unturned, no taboo unspoken, and never betrayed any fear to take this piece to the limit.
***** (5 stars)
Runs until 26th August