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Tender Napalm (TBC Theatre) - REVIEW

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A war of words - domination makes you the King or Queen

Tender Napalm is an original stage play by Phillip Ridley, now boldly produced by TBC Theatre. Directed by Alice Darling, with Trudi Boatwright and Ben Adams playing the main and only characters, its season is running till the 19th of September 2015. Tickets are $30 full and $25 concession (CLICK HERE for tickets) with shows running at 8pm from Tuesday to Sunday and 3pm on a Saturday. The venue is in the basement of Good Time Studios - 746 Swanston street, Melbourne (Uni Lodge Building next to Melbourne Uni; see end of article for helpful information to get there). Another 'different' venue which is typical TBC challenging the traditional notion of theatre.

A cash bar will run on the night and tickets can be purchased at the door. Bring cash as there are no EFTPOS facilities available. Unfortunately there's no wheelchair access to the venue. If you have any questions, feel free to email

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT - There'll be a post show Q&A with the cast on 10th September.

tender nepalm, tbc theatre, trudi boatwright, alice darling, ben adams, Q&A, Goodtime studios, open rehearsal, exclusive, actors, performing arts, play
Image courtesy of TBC Theatre

Tender Napalm is a lot of things. It's funny, sexy and mesmerising. It's a war of words, a lot of words and a whole lot of little monkeys. This is a tale of two lovers caught up in a world of their own, one they never seem to leave. Words are important because it's what gives them control of the story of how they each see their relationship. It's a battle of the sexes. A relationship that is filled with raw sexuality, pleasure, fantasy and sweet gut wrenching pain.

The man and the woman are two people who dissect their relationship through a maze of memories and imagination. It's an hour and a half (approximately) of dialogue with no specific setting, making it quite abstract. With sentences like 'I could squeeze a bullet between those lips', you sit up and listen just to see where it's going to lead you.

The stage is sparse yet complete, just like the actors. There are two, yet their dialogue expertly woven and spoken with nae a dead spot keeps you engaged, at times chuckling and mostly mesmerised. This may be a battle of the sexes yet one senses a real sorrow in this relationship. The command the actors have over their characters allows them to express all the emotions you automatically pick up on because it's served on such a professional platter. They hijack the narrative from each other, they change the rules, break each other down, pick each other up and on it goes in an eternal cycle that is their whole world.

If you have any reservations about 'all dialogue and just two characters' not being able to keep you engaged, you could not be further from the truth. This may be a deceptively simple play, but the use of language is what makes it outstanding. Delivered expertly by two professionals, you best give up and give in to the moment.

I have to make special mention of Ben Adams the actor (writer and director) in his Melbourne acting debut because he surprised me. The last time I met him he was mild mannered Clark Kent serving drinks at TBC's Made in China. Who knew, once he took those glasses off, he became the Superman of Tender Napalm. There was a certain magic to his movement and the way he delivered, be it the dialogue or his expressions. All I can say is WOW! Can't wait to see more from TBC? Make sure you like their Facebook Page and subscribe to their website for Project: Hysteria is following fast. You can catch this play by Tennessee Williams at the Poppyseed Festival in November.

Meanwhile, don't miss yet another amazing delivery by TBC Theatre and Book now for Tender Napalm.


Goodtime Studios is located on the basement level of the UniLodge building at 746 Swanston street, Carlton VIC 3053.
Upon entering the building there are steps to the right leading straight down to the theatre. There will also be some signage to help out.

If you are using public transport there is a tram stop directly out front. (Tram Stop 1 Melbourne University/Swanston St)

If you are driving in please allow an extra few minutes for parking as the venue is located in a busy area.

The easiest parking is usually found along Faraday street and Cardigan street which is about a 10 minute walk away.

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Why? A play by Phillip Ridley about two lovers caught up in a world they've created for themselves
When: 3 to 19 September 2015.
Phone: Contact via website or Facebook page
Where: Basement of Good Time Studios - 746 Swanston street, Melbourne (Uni Lodge Building next to Melbourne Uni).
Cost: $25 - $30 (concession and full)
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