30 October 2006

Milk

MELBOURNE FRINGE 2006
Milk
The Town Bikes

10 October 2006
Festival Hub, Lithuanian Club


The Town Bikes have taken their short, sharp, funny dance routines and successfully developed them into perverted pantomime.

The Bikes present two longer pieces based on the theme of milk. Lacteus Praesul is very different from the expected Bike/twin routine. It’s a semi-drag love story between a prince and princess, playing absurdly with classical ballet, pantomime and innuendo worthy of a “carry on “ film. Milk develops directly from the established and loved Bike acts, with a montage of dance routines and competitive interplay between the characters.

John-Paul Hussey directed Milk and appears as Brian of Aberdeen, the MC and stage manager. I have always like the absurd narrative and visual delights of his work, but am unsure about the combination of Bikes directed by Hussey.

As a theme milk has limitless potential. The Bikes play with mother’s milk, breast obsession, milk commercials, milk in pop culture and even death. The rest of the show needs some relevance to create cohesion. Each night there is special guest act, but they appear to have no connection to the theme. Brian is a curious character, but his only link to milk is that he was probably bottle-fed.

The show loses energy and drags during the act changeovers. I love a show that makes the audience participate in its creation, but asking us to talk among ourselves as the stage was reset is a bit lazy and fell flat – despite a very supportive audience. Ironically the Bikes were the perfect interlude between acts during The Burlesque Hour.

The Town Bikes are still an original and fabulous act. Milk is great fun, but a great cabaret show needs a tight structure and a consistent theme.

This review originally appeared on AussieTheatre.com.

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