New Regional Theater Company Debuts with Psychological Thriller DARK VANILLA JUNGLE

By: Apr. 20, 2017
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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



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