The Milkman Cometh – The Vault Festival, London

Writers: Alice Bounce, Maxwell Tyler and Owen Jenkins

Director:  Katherine Timms

Reviewer:  Richard Maguire

Definitely the strangest show to appear in The Vault Festival’s opening week, The Milkman Cometh is the bastard child of The Wicker Man and Barbarella. Loud, crude and funny, it’s perfect late-night festival fodder. The front-of-house staff are not handing out ear-plugs for nothing!

In the near future, humans take their final revenge on the cows that threaten our world. But as the authorities throw the bovine species on the pyres, the fires get out of control and the Big Burn that follows almost wipes out the human race. The people who survive form strange, primitive societies based on bloodthirsty rituals.

One such society, the village of Cud, can’t quite believe its luck when a female stranger roars into town on her motorbike like a character from Mad Max.  As she waits for her bike to be fixed, the mayor of Cud offers her the elixir of the past, a glass of milk. And even more exciting, today is the day that the milkman cometh.

Mayhem ensues, and all to the throbbing drums and guitars of the onstage metal band, Fuck Slurry. The five cast members throw themselves headfirst into a variety of roles, dancing and fighting included, and yet, amid all this chaos, they never let go of the story, which is surprisingly smart and topical. With glimmers of The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood would surely approve of The Milkman Cometh’s gender twists.

Played in traverse with all manner of props, this musical horror is a slick production by Deadplant Theatre, and the acting is first-class, especially that of Maxwell Tyler who plays the hipster-bearded mayor. Not one of them misses a beat, and, don’t’ forget, the beats are very loud.

Perhaps not for the faint-hearted, The Milkman Cometh will make your ears ring, but this is clever theatre. Deadplant certainly has a lotta bottle, and, after watching, you may want to put that almond milk aside and go for the real deal instead.

Reviewed on 25 January 2019 | Image: Contributed

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The Reviews Hub London is under the acting editorship of Richard Maguire. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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