Milk is performing at the Traverse Theatre at 7pm.
Three couples struggle to meet their basic needs for food, love and survival. As they try to make sense of a changing world, their inner desires and appetites become driving forces that could lead to either catastrophe or redemption.
A world premiere production of Ross Dunsmore’s first full-length play and there is not a more fitting time for it than during the Fringe. This show is full of love, anger and sorrow and is just so realistic. It embodies humanity and shows how our basic needs are so easily complicated by our emotions and desires. The Traverse Theatre Company has been expertly directed by Orla O’Loughlin to bring out everything Dunsmore has woven through the script and the six actors excel on stage together. It was a bonus to hear my first Scottish voices of the Fringe and was a welcome reminder of the work Traverse commission in order to ensure Scottish theatre remains prominent, relevant and powerful.
Three couples – one representing old age, the other middle age and the last youth – seldom interacting apart from at two points. These two points are the only parts of the play where all three couples overlap and it was very interesting to see the different stories collide and to see the overarching themes being developed. With humour used throughout the script to lighten the darker scenes Dunsmore has managed to write a well rounded and thoughtful play with parts for all the audience to enjoy. By reducing the couples’ needs to the bare bones of food, love and survival it was easy for the company to really show their characters at their strongest and weakest allowing the audience to relate immediately and intensely with all the individuals on stage.
I found a particular affinity with the elderly couple and was able to see many characteristics that my grandparents exhibit. Dunsmore was able to manipulate the audience’s reactions through his story so at one minute we were crying, at the next hiccuping with laughter, and soon it was easy to realise that, in a way, Milk represents life and how tumultuous and sh*t it can be – but also how great. My only qualm was with the youngest couple whose female character was a little too erratic and impulsive for my taste, though it did serve to keep the audience on their toes and to drag out the tension O’Loughlin has created with the clever separation of each couple. Generally, only the speaking couple moves on stage and the rest are frozen, with the smart lighting design of Philip Gladwell emphasising the switches with carefully chosen backlights for each couple.
Recommended. Not one to miss for Fringe 2016 and I thoroughly hope a tour will be on the cards for Milk.