Frankenstein Q&A: some of the Q's and A's
The Hamlet-fest of 2011

Tender Napalm, Southwark Playhouse

Image Bit of a Philip Ridley fan so was naturally keen to see his new piece, Tender Napalm, at the Southwark Playhouse. It is a two-hander played out on a rectangular stage, bare apart from two chairs facing each other from either end. The audience sits down the two long sides.

From the opening exchange between the Man (Jack Gordon) and the Woman (Vinette Robinson), positioned so as to have the audience looking one way then another, as if watching a tennis match, the emotional battle lines are drawn.

The play explores love at it most tender and most explosive through a series of linked vignettes - some exchanges, some monologues.

Many are from a flight of imagination where the two protagonists are Greek God-like characters fighting each other for supremacy in their own fantasy kingdom. These are cleverly interwoven with glimpses and references of reality so that the story of their relationship and the nature of their love gradually unfolds.

There is something quite epic about this play, something almost biblical and it is certainly poetic. The description of their first meeting struck chords of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden and a fight that spills over into the sea of Hippolytus's death in Phedre. It is story-telling at its most heightened and allegorical. It is a physical piece the actors recreating the wild fantastical stories they are telling each other. By the end they looked like they had done an intense work out.

This was a preview performance - the day before it had had its world premiere - and Ridley was there taking notes. I enjoyed it immensely but it would be interesting to see how he develops it.

Tender Napalm runs until May 14.



Well the obvious one is of course Philip Ridley because Mr W has acted in two his plays: Mercury Fur and Leaves of Glass.

But just because that is too easy here is another: Vinette Robinson was in Vera Drake which also starred Eddie Marsan who was in Criminal Justice with Mr W