Malta’s Unifaun Theatre give a confident rendering of Philip Ridley’s tale at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe
This article is from 2014.
Tender Napalm, as its title suggests, is a piece characterised by the exploding, the sharp, the intimate, and the human sensitivity to pain. This fantastical two-hander written by Philip Ridley takes its characters through a series of increasingly elaborate pieces of storytelling in which giant sea serpents, armies of disenfranchised monkeys and entire worlds are summoned into being through the cracklings of poetry.
The production by Malta-based Unifaun Theatre sets two young performers on a thin layer of sand that flies into air when kicked and clings to their skin, like the performers to each other. The performances from Andre Aguis as Man and Bettina Paris as Woman are confidently realized, and the cast have no problem in highlighting the sexual undercurrent in Ridley’s script.
In spinning out their party-piece speeches, Aguis and Paris both show a keen skill with the sharpness of the language. However the whimsical tone that defines these linguistic acrobatics comes to characterise the rest of the performance as well, with the effect that it becomes less engaging later on, particularly when the tone of the piece itself shifts to a more muted kind of realism.
C Nova, 0845 260 1234, until 25 Aug, 4.50pm, £9.50–£11.50 (£7.50–£9.50).