Saturday, 9 February 2013

MilkMilkLemonade - Review

Written by Joshua Conkel, Directed by Melita Rowston
The New Theatre – 542 King St Newtown
From 5th February to 2nd March
Reviewed by Lana Hilton

Hilarious. Thought-provoking. Talking animals.

MilkMilkLemonade is not – despite its name referring to a dirty children’s rhyme – a play suitable for children. Although it is set on a farmyard, focuses on the lives of two 11-year old boys and one of the main characters is a talking chicken in a Brooklyn/American accent, the themes covered are definitely not for the young and innocent.

Emory is an effeminate 5th grader whose dream is to win the singing and dancing competition ‘Reach for the Stars’. He knows he is different from other boys his age and doesn’t need his chain-smoking, cancer-riddled Nanna pointing it out every chance she gets. He knows that playing with a Barbie named Starlene and having deep and meaningful conversations with a fat chicken named Linda probably isn’t normal. But the thing about Emory is that he doesn’t care.

Playwright Joshua Conkel has combined child-like imagination and fantasy with the struggles of identity and sexuality. When scenes of verbal and physical abuse become too much to bear there is a talking chicken, a talking spider,musical outbursts and a parasitic evil twin to lighten the mood.

All five actors in this play deserve special mention. Their commitment to accents, line-dancing, singing, intimate moments and portraying important themes in ridiculous situations is what makes this play enjoyable. The emcee/chicken translator/creepy spider/human embodiment of Starlene/evil parasitic twin known as ‘Lady in a Leotard’ played by Leah Donovan, is everybody’s favourite. What a brilliant and unusual character to play and Leah nails it. Of course Mark Dessaix (Emory), Kieran Foster (Elliot), Pete Nettell (Nanna) and Sarah Easterman (Linda the Chicken) make you feel as if you have dropped down the rabbit hole and are playing alongside them. You love the whole crazy family.

The cast and writing draws you in and makes you feel that although you are facing serious concepts and are sometimes put-off by what the children get up to, you are vastly entertained while you comprehend it all. While I am still a bit bewildered by the chicken’s role in the story of a child growing up gay in Middle America, I am recommending this play to everyone.
Challenge yourself and your views by using your imagination and taking a trip back to your childhood…what did you want to be when you were young?

1 comment:

translator sydney said...

I totally agree with you that challenge yourself and your views by using your imagination and taking a trip back to your childhood.