Milk Presents: Self Service

Milk Presents Self ServiceFrom the very first moment of the wonderfully loose café-based intro to the fine vulnerability of the shows closing moments, Milk hold us with an gorgeous charm. The three performers and musician have impeccable complicity, their ability to listen to each other and respond just at the perfect moment lends a seamlessness to the glamourous DIY aesthetics. Perhaps it is easy to be generous when you are this talented.

The cabaret pastiche, complete with faux-beatnik stylings, is a canvas used to explore the complex territory of Queer. The show manages to be both fun and inspiring, exploded vox pops and sublime OHP manipulation lead us on an exploration of how an desire for self determination and definition collides with the rejection of heteronormative structures while also wanting the same rights as those accorded previously only to pairs of people whose ‘sexual organs fit each other perfectly’ (this being one of the crass definitions by which Ann Widdecombe justified her fear-fueled anti-equality stance on marriage).

There is at once the rejection of constrictive normality and the need to be accepted as normal. The fear that campaigning for gay marriage represents being co-opted by the very system that you are fighting to change. The irreducible complexity of Queerness is present throughout the show, from the best riot grrrl version of Single Ladies (Put a ring on it), to the horrors of dehumanising state supported homophobic violence in Russia, to the worry that you will just end up with the same unfree life under capitalism, an existence of quietly crushed suburban mediocrity.

It is the great triumph of this show that it manages to hold the uncertainties, the understanding of the near impossibility of authenticity, the inescapable uniformity of the ‘exceptional’ with such tenderness and self acceptance, leaving us in the transcendent state of knowing the life to be hoped for and celebrating the life that is.

This entry was posted in Reviews and tagged on by .

About Edward Rapley

Artist, actor, performer, and writer. A proud member of in Bristol. Trained at Ecole Philippe Gaulier. He has had the good fortune to be supported by Arnolfini, Bristol Old Vic and The Basement in the creation of some of his four solo shows. In his writing for Total Theatre he attempts to met each show on its own level and respond to the thoughts and dreams it sets off in his head.