About Tender Napalm

Wednesday 17th November 2021

Jaz Hutchins and Adeline Waby in Tender Napalm. Photo: Mark Senior
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Last night, I had a mind-expanding experience. And, listen, there’s still a chance for you to have one too. I’m talking about the exceptional and extraordinary piece of theatre that is Philip Ridely’s 2011 wonderama Tender Napalm, which is running at the King’s Head Theatre until the end of this week. This fantasmagorical play, whose imaginative power still feels immaculately fresh, is both an eye-bogglingly entertaining verbal space tour and a gut-punching account of love and loss. A glittering mash-up of desert islands, tsunamis, unicorns, dolphins, serpents, monkeys and flowers, and atom bombs, it is a tone poem which collides the language of love with emotional truth, all lit up by the sickly fears of the age of terrorism (which, following the Liverpool taxi bomb, we know is not over). It’s a mouthwateringly superb piece of writing. This fantastic revival, directed by Max Harrison, is performed with terrific energy by Jaz Hutchins and Adeline Waby who have an electric chemistry on stage that holds your attention and never lets it go. It’s a really great show, which, in the words of the Ridley poem that is included in the programme, is guaranteed to “sparkle you up”. Go now before it’s too late.

© Aleks Sierz

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