New Regional Theater Company Debuts with Psychological Thriller DARK VANILLA JUNGLE

There are 29 shows at the Tampa Fringe Festival. Why is the psychological thriller Dark Vanilla Jungle the one you can't miss?

Look at its track record: director Staci Sabarsky's production of Philip Ridley's dark masterpiece earned four- and five-star reviews in its 2015 North Carolina premiere and a 2016 revival at the Camden Fringe Festival in London. It comes to Tampa as the first production of an innovative, provocative new theater company: Innovocative Theatre.'s four-star review celebrated Dark Vanilla Jungle's "gripping performance tapestry" in "an ambitious, beautifully performed and smartly directed gem of a production" at the Camden Fringe. In his five-star review for INDY Week,critic ByRon Woods called the show "the most compelling local production I've seen in quite some time. Drop everything; this you've got to see."

Andrea, the central character in this riveting one-person show, is a young London girl who wants to love and be loved in return. But, as the review explains, "life can't stop kicking her in the teeth: her father disappeared soon after she was born, leaving her to be raised by her [negligent] Mum, who callously and suddenly disappears upon his return. Abandoned in a grotty flat, she tiptoes along the borders of mental illness until she's 'rescued' by her never-before-seen grandmother."

Things go from bad to worse when she meets an attractive older man who gives her the love and attention she desperately wants, but for all the wrong reasons. "As we watch with concern and increasing horror," notes the INDY Week review, "we can see an elastic young mind gradually rewiring itself in response to the damage it's known. As it does, something dark and very hungry blossoms in a bright young girl."

Ridley takes audiences on the ride of their life as Andrea reveals and relives key moments in this masterful tale. The results will leave hearts racing and post-show conversations buzzing. Matthew Rees, an audience member at the Camden Fringe tweeted after seeing the play, "Dark Vanilla Jungle should be renamed Dark Dark Dark. It's immensely gripping, very weird and hugely rewarding."

Marie-Claude Tremblay will be appearing as Andrea in this mesmerizing solo performance. When asked why she wanted to play Andrea, Tremblay responded, "This is a scary project for me which is why I took it on: to grow as an artist you have to do things that scare you. But my terror pales in comparison to the terror that millions of women like Andrea go through every day. Their stories need to be told and their voices need to be heard."

This is director Staci Sabarsky's third time directing this production. "I've been incredibly lucky to direct this show more than once to wonderful reviews," Sabarsky notes. "I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to bring this show to Tampa audiences as a part of the first annual Tampa Fringe Festival."

This is the one show in the festival you don't want to miss. And one you'll never forget.

Sabarsky recently established Innovocative Theatre after moving to the area in 2016. The company's next production will be Proof, by David Auburn. Winner of the 2001 Tony Award for Best Play and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Proof will be co-produced with Stageworks Theatre in July.

Sabarsky and Tremblay are both available for interviews about Innovocative Theater's intrepid first offering, and its plans for future growth. Contact them at the email or phone number listed at the top.

Innovocative Theatre's production of Dark Vanilla Jungle will run for only three performances: Thursday, May 11 at 7:40 p.m.; Saturday, May 13 at 3:35 p.m.; and Sunday, May 14 at 8:50 p.m. at Silver Meteor Gallery. Tickets are $10 general admission. Warning: Due to the graphic language and content of the show, it is not recommended for children. For more information and ticket sales, go to or

NAME: Dark Vanilla Jungle

DATES: Thursday, May 11 at 7:40 p.m.; Saturday, May 13 at 3:35 p.m.; and Sunday, May 14 at 8:50 p.m.

VENUE: Silver Meteor Gallery

TICKETS: $10 general admission


RELATED STORIES - Tampa/St. Petersburg

Student Blog: Post-Grad Limbo

My first year of college is over and for some reason, nothing seems to have changed. I’m still lost on where my life is going, let alone where the next year is going, and I still feel like I’m just laying in post-high school degree limbo. I’m still trying to find the right school and I’m still trying to accept the change that was solidified when I moved my tassel.

Review: JAGGED LITTLE PILL at Straz Center

What did our critic think of JAFrom the outside looking in, the Healeys are seemingly the Gold Standard flawless upper-middle-class family living in the Connecticut suburbs. JAGGED LITTLE PILL begins with the mom writing the annual holiday Christmas newsletter bragging about her husband's job and her beloved Harvard-bound son. From the inside looking out, just beneath the surface, they are a family imploding, struggling. GGED LITTLE PILL at Straz Center?


OUR SOLE PURPOSE is the invention of twenty-six-year-old Ashlyn, a prolific tap dancer, owner of Tampa Bay Taps for six years, and an instructor at Straz' Patel Conservatory. The Rhythm and Sole Tap Ensemble, Tampa native band NIGHTBREAKERS, and the Youth Tap Crew will band together to explore the meaning of dance, music, and life.

Review: ALANIS MORISSETTE'S JAGGED LITTLE PILL Will Leave You Breathless At Straz Center

Jagged Little Pill, is the latest “Jukebox Musical,” in a rather long line of “Jukebox Musicals,” to make it on Broadway and then tour in recent years. With music by Alanis Morissette, book by Diablo Cody, and additional music by Michael Farrell and Guy Sigsworth, the show traverses the iconic landscape of songs represented on Morissette’s 1995 album of the same name, and touches on topics of pain, healing, and empowerment.


#repshow# in[i]# Comedy of Tenors
Florida Studio Theatre (8/02-8/20)
#repshow# in[i]# Jobsite Theater's ALICE
Straz Center for the Performing Arts (5/10-6/04)
#repshow# in[i]# Lizzie: The Musical
Straz Center for the Performing Arts (7/12-8/06)
#repshow# in[i]# The Sound of Music
Carrollwood Players Theatre (6/02-6/24)
#repshow# in[i]# Monty Python's Spamalot
Carrollwood Cultural Center (7/21-7/30)CAST
#repshow# in[i]# Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992
Straz Center for the Performing Arts (8/16-8/27)
#repshow# in[i]# All My Sons by Arthur Miller
USF Theatre Centre TAR 120 (6/01-6/18)
#repshow# in[i]# The Prom
MAD Theatre of Tampa (7/14-7/22)
#repshow# in[i]# Lessons for an incomplete black boy
The Fringe Theatre (6/23-6/25)

Recommended For You