Admittedly when reading the blurb ‘A Fairytale for Adults’ one cannot help but fear that some other moron in face paint on the Royal Mile has crafted a show to have Angela Carter turning in her untimely grave. Forget this – Milk Presents Theatre Company, a collection of graduates from London’s Central School of Speech and Drama, have approached the idea with maturity and style, and an awareness that has ensured an original and exciting examination of the latent messages that are embedded in the fairytale narratives with which we consider ourselves familiar.
Although heavily constructed to generate all the effects of the production (including both lighting and sound) the set harbors a organic and playful air that harmonizes handsomely with the Perrault folktale upon which the performance is based and uses as a medium for its points of analysis. A bike rigged up with a generator powers a dim light for moments of haunting tension, an overhead projector combined with coloured gels and even dishes of water and dye is employed with innovation complementing both the moments of humour and poignancy that infuse the show. Despite the success of the visual direction, I must admit that the employment of sound was for me the highlight, not necessarily in the variety of amusing cabaret style compositions that were supplemented with wit and irony – the discordant guitar twangs of the opening scene and electronic pulses of both archaic and contemporary contraptions conjured a world not too far from something PJ Harvey may inhabit, an appropriate setting for this classic tale of seduction and slaughter.
When another audience member is singing along to a number satirising gender constructs and the heterosexual family ideal in the venue’s male toilet after a performance, you know you’re on to a winner. With focus and funding Milk Presents Theatre Company are sure to have a prosperous and exciting future.