The strength of this production primarily sits with the intensely provocative script written by Philip Ridley. Delving into issues of sexual assault, family and mental health the monologue provides and intense and visceral depiction of a young girl’s turbulent downfall. The heavy weight of this story rest in the hands of one actor during its 70 minute duration. The woman bravely taking on this far-from-small challenge is Aea Varfis-van Warmelo – a young performer from the Glasgow based company Fear No Colours, made up of students and recent Graduates of Glasgow University's theatre department.
Dark Vanilla Jungle is powerful and captivating, however this heavily relies on the quality of text provided by Ridley.
Andrea desperately tries to explain her position to an audience scattered throughout the intimately small room. The narrative weaves in and out of tales of her childhood, the presence and the horrors that brought her here. The lines are delivered at a relentless pace but this spitfire style seems a necessity to the panic of the character. The role of the audience flickers regularly and suddenly between being a room of friends and a room of her accusers.
Warmelo provides an engaging, driven performance. She comes across as a very promising actor, her talent particularly shining through in outbursts of fierce rage and an ability to hold the most unsettling of gazes with any audience member who dares to look her in the eye. Sadly at times this promise at times came to little more than that, many powerful lines were thrown away with thoughtless delivery. Much of the movement was reduced to purposeless meanders through the audience, often coming over clumsily due to the limited space in the venue. This severely let down the power Warmelo exerted over the room when standing her ground. Ridley writes with moments of twisted humour which, it seemed, were slightly overlooked when tackling this challenging text. As the monologue went on the performance did continually grow in strength and gravitas as the actor warmed. It would be fair to say that Fear No Colours’ production of Dark Vanilla Jungle is powerful and captivating, however this heavily relies on the quality of text provided by Ridley.