Tag Archives: Adeline Waby

“Tender Napalm” at the King’s Head Theatre

With a series of exciting monologues last year, prolific playwright Philip Ridley had a good lockdown. But I’m not alone in wanting Ridley’s work back on stage. This expert revival of a real gem is a thrilling treat.

Tender Napalm is a romance, told with startling originality. The memories and fantasies of a couple swing from love to hate. The stories they concoct between them are gripping – passionate and violent.

Tales you’d “hardly believe” feature unicorns, UFOs and a common or garden tsunami! In suggesting spontaneity, while delivering Ridley’s poetic lines, performers Adeline Waby and Jaz Hutchins are superb.

Kit Hinchcliffe’s minimal design is a perfect blank canvas for colourful displays of imagination. A potentially static piece, Sam Angell’s bold work as movement director is strong. The occasionally childlike movements are particularly unsettling.

What is poisoning the relationship we watch, the motive for a kind of therapeutic exercise, is surely the death of a child. Ridley isn’t explicit: emotions, like the scenarios, are fluid. But whatever is wrong creates increasing tension.

Yet tenderness is present too. It’s in allowing the care between the characters to show that Hutchins and Waby excel. A change of pace towards the end of the piece is exquisitely handled.

Director Max Harrison has a thorough appreciation of Ridley’s brilliant text. Best of all, Harrison balances a peculiar dark humour with Ridley’s astonishing imagination. The “universe of dreams” this production provides a view of is, in all senses of the word, fantastic.

Until 20 November 2021


Photo by Mark Senior

“Bin Juice” at the Vault Festival

Cat Kolubayev’s comedy thriller is a little treat. A neat if queasy scenario, about a sinister waste disposal business and its new recruit, has great characters and a wicked sense of humour.

Firmly directed by Anastasia Bruce-Jones, Bin Juice benefits from three strong performers making the most of solid roles.

Adeline Waby and Madison Clare – both superb comedians – play the firm’s psychopathically quirky employees. There’s a great sense of their offbeat relationship being long established. Waby’s character is steely and smart, Clare’s deadpan and whacky, and both get great laughs from lines both blunt and surreal – a mix of nonchalance and concern is nicely handled. Into the mix comes Belinda, another strong showing from Helena Antoniou, who tackles the distinct humour just as well and adds a touch of mysterious tension.

Exciting as the Vault Festival is, it has to be mentioned (again) how poor the acoustics are. The venue does not serve this piece well. It’s clear that the talented cast have to shout more often than the script needs, a fair call on Bruce-Jones’ part but I’d love to hear a quieter menace in some lines.

The short running times at the festival also prove a drawback. Kolubayev plots well, playing with predictable genre elements, I really wanted to know more about the “someone” in charge who communicates only by phone. But the show feels truncated. More, please – let’s hope this piece can be expanded. A sense of shock at the abrupt end shows Bin Juice is as engrossing as it is gross!

Until 15 March 2020


Photo by Lidia Crisfulli