Milk

Three of the ‘seven ages of man’ populate the Traverse stage: a pair of 14-year-olds, Steph and Ash, wrestling for the first time with the ideas of love and sexuality; a couple in their thirties, Nicole and Danny, awaiting the arrival of their first child; and Cyril and May who, at 93 years old, have no electricity, no food, no warmth — only each other. Three sets of two, scrabbling for love and meaning in a world which seems to offer very little of either.

Milk offers a fascinating glimpse into the physical necessity and redemptive power of loving and being loved, through snappy, witty dialogue that entertains as it provokes.

Milk is a production of stark beauty. Vertical neon cylinders dominate the back wall, subtly changing hue to match the timbre of each scene. Scene transitions are precisely choreographed and artfully executed, characters gracefully fading into shadows, remaining onstage but out of focus as the next scene begins around them.

These apparently disparate figures are united by their common “appetites”, by that most fundamental of human desires: the need to love and be loved. But no one in Milk is totally sure about what form that should take. Every character is preoccupied with different versions of love — sex, romance, parenthood — trying to figure out exactly what it takes to feel whole, to feel fully human.

Helen Mallon gives a tour-de-force performance — full of hurt, anger, and swaggering insecurity — as Steph, a 14-year-old who wants “something” but can’t articulate what that is. She is tragically sexually confused, overwhelmed by arthouse erotic films and a culture which considers her whole to be worth less than the sum of her individually sexualised parts.

Tam Dean Burn — who stepped into the role of Cyril after the original actor, due to illness, had to leave — is another standout amid a stellar cast, embodying with poignant frailty a starving ex-soldier trapped inside his home for fear of dogs and (possibly) knife-wielding youths. His scenes with Ann Louise Moss are mesmerising: a soul-stirring portrayal of a relationship that sustains a couple, even when they have nothing else.

An assured full-length debut from Ross Dunsmore, Milk offers a fascinating glimpse into the physical necessity and redemptive power of loving and being loved, through snappy, witty dialogue that entertains as it provokes.

Reviews by Jamie P Robson

Pleasance Dome

Often Onstage

★★★
Underbelly, Cowgate

Zach & Viggo: Thunderflop

★★★★
Pleasance Courtyard

Omid Djalili: Schmuck for a Night

★★★
Assembly Roxy

Chopping Chillies

★★★★
C venues - C nova

Communicate

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

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. Funny, dark and provocative, Milk explores the universal need to feed and to be fed; physically, emotionally, spiritually. An emotive and heartfelt play about what sustains us, what fills us up, what makes us sick and what we just can’t get enough of. Directed by Traverse artistic director Orla O’Loughlin, acclaimed for recent award-winning festival hits Swallow and Ciara.

Most Popular See More

Matilda the Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

SIX

From £21.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Book of Mormon

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Mamma Mia!

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Mousetrap

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Moulin Rouge! The Musical

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets