Ratchet Theatre obtained the rights to produce Dark Vanilla Jungle and first toured it in 2016. For the upcoming tour see Current. The 2016 tour visited the following venues:
After a sucessful tour the company has decided to bring the show to the Etcetera Theatre in Camden in November 2017.
Dark Vanilla Jungle was first produced in 2013 and starred (Game of Thrones') Gemma Whelan before being taken to the Edinburgh Fringe in the same year. Ratchet Theatre's production toured in the South West during 2016. "A beautiful, breath-taking drama about one girl's craving for family and home… and the lengths she will go to achieve them".
Since then it has become a seminal play, not just reflecting on life as a young person but attacking it and leaving as many questions unanswered as answered. Andrea's story is sad, captivating, frustrating and heart-wrenching. It leaves you drained of emotion.
Katie Bottoms plays Andrea, a young girl abandoned by her family, groomed and abused by sexual predators and rendered homeless. Depressing? In part, but Ridley allows her spirit and sense of hope and possibility to shine through in sections of Bleak Humour that are breathtakingly brilliant. . After all, Andrea has done nothing wrong. She has been abandoned, first by her parents, then by her boyfriend, and then by a family she thought she belonged to.
This play runs for 1 hour 40 minutes but time is irrelevant, you are swept along on a wave of emotion, first bewilderment, then empathy, then sympathy. By the end, this cauldron of emotion, having taken you in, will offer you back a blankness and emptiness that will have you questioning not just Andrea's situation but every bit of the journey she has been forced to take.
Katie Bottoms is Andrea, her demeanour, her self-pity, her lambasting of you, the audience, for doubting her honesty, her integrity. To relate a story of that length with conviction and realism takes some doing, to do it with so much emotional outpouring and inner hurt takes a rare talent. Katie Bottoms is that talent. This play will hang you out to dry all too easily; but despite this you will be so glad you stayed, stayed to hear a remarkable tale told with passion, compassion and extraordinary realism.
Ratchet Theatre is taking this gripping solo performance (running time 90 minutes with no interval) on a small-scale tour of theatres, art centres and colleges in the South West of England. The dates and venues are as follows –
What critics have said about Dark Vanilla Jungle –
a dynamic piece of storytelling
sensitive and visceral Intermission Magazine
Committed writing of the highest order. Relevant, topical, unbearable. Unmissable Guardian
Astonishing Theatre. Vitally important work. All women should see this. Do yourself a favour. Go! Big Issue
- was an invitation to a performance. The performance is a meal. Just a meal. You might even have got an invitation to join the table. The table was set, the guests arrived, some were familiar, or at least, you though they were. Some guests were related, some not. Some were not sure whether they were or not. Anyone could be asked to join this part-scripted, part-improvised performance where the ending was unknown. The only certainty is that there was a meal and certain people were invited.
Walk with me was a project allowing you to walk with someone with a story to tell – Who's telling the story? Why are they telling it? Walk with me asked you to spare some time to walk with someone, anyone, who had a story to tell. It might be personal, it might not be. It might be biographical, it might be fictitious. If you really want to you could try and work it out. But it's unimportant.
Walk with me asked that you listen. Listen to a story. There would be no conversation. Just formalities.
this project, a performance shop, was deemed to be: "A shop that sold all, or part of, a performance, whatever the genre of that performance was. This could include, but was not limited to, drama, music, dance, puppetry, writing and management". The shop would function for 33 days but it was anticipated that the premises, or the concept, or both, would continue as a legacy after this initial period.
– Lupton House was the venue for a weekend of life drawing in September 2012 when 25 artists and 7 models provided the facilities to draw from the human body. Four rooms were available offering experimentation in movement, music, improvisation and aesthetics.