11-year-old Emory loves to practise ribbon dancing on his nanna’s chicken farm and dreams only of a life in musical theatre, as a vegan. He desperately wants to save his best friend, Linda, the sad chicken who dabbles in stand-up comedy, from her evil fate – the monstrous chicken-plucking oven.
His 12-year-old playmate, pyromaniac Elliot, plays ‘house’ with him – an outlet for some wonderfully imaginative scenes involving sexual role play through song and dance.
Director of MILKMILKLEMONADE, Melita Rowston, says, “The writing allows so much space for me to inject leaps of imagination into my production”. This embodies the success of the show. Its simplicity allows for the delightfully entertaining high camp action and exploits of a young gay man living in a Southern American bible belt.
New York writer, Joshua Conkel describes his play as, “dark, kitschy, political, unpretentious and stripped down so it’s almost Dadaist”. Strong direction and acting also bring great humour to his script.
The ensemble cast have all brought this play alive with invigorating and contagious performances;
Mark Dessaix as Emory combines endearing innocence, superb balletic movement and wonderful singing to his character.
Pete Nettell is brilliant as Nanna, complete with bizarre orange coiffure, portable oxygen machine and cigarettes. Nanna is hilarious, tough and funny, unaccepting of her grandson’s escapism.
Kieran Foster is a great Elliot, a kinky and very sexually confused young boy who does not aspire to the ambitions of Emory, preferring to help Nanna kill the chickens.
Linda The Chicken is colourfully played by Sarah Easterman, who moves with skill between her comedy routines and the sad acceptance of her fate.
Leah Donovan is a talented actress, who plays Lady in a Leotard. She moves with great ease on stage to combine several roles, including MC to the audience, as well as nasty, husband-eating spiderwoman. She fills gaps in the play with versatility and volatile accents.
Antoinette Barbouttis’s colourful set, complete with life-size chickens and circular garden, is perfect for this quirky comedy and the entire creative team including the choreographers have made this production a fabulous and lively piece of theatre.
MILKMILKLEMONADE plays at the New Theatre, Newtown until Saturday March 2nd.
© Bronwyn Fullerton
24th February, 2013
Tags: Sydney Stage Reviews- MILKMILKLEMONADE, Joshua Conkel, Melita Rowston, Mark Dessaix, Pete Nettell, Kieran Foster, Sarah Easterman, Leah Donovan, Antoinette Barbouttis, Bob Seary, Sydney Arts Guide, Bronwyn Fullerton