MilkMilkLemonade at the Ovalhouse
Set deep within the strange confines of agricultural America, MilkMilkLemonade is a discomforting and grotesquely captivating presentation of childhood. Emory is a fifth grader who lives on a chicken farm and wants to be a girl. His chain-smoking, cancer-ridden nana hates that. So Emory seeks respect and kinship from the giant talking chicken, Linda, instead. Chicken Linda and Emory are best friends, which nana also hates. Then there’s Elliot, from the house down the road “with all the trucks in the yard”. He has a black-eye. Emory and Elliot are equally deprived of fulfillment in their home lives so an unlikely relationship is forged between the two, where each satisfies some craving within the other.
To offset this weird, wonderful and ever enchanting backwardness of America is the comedy of the play. The strings are blatant and obvious, the puppet master’s voice present in every line. The characters are archetypal dreams – played with brutal crudity and abandonment – and Georgia Buchanan’s role as narrator-cum-general-lady-in-leotard is dripping in mouth-watering irony. The cracks in the fourth wall provide the laughs here, which gives the play a much needed balance of tone. The sickly sweet pitch of agricultural America is undercut by the grounding tongue-in-cheek aspect of modern theatre.
Writer Joshua Conkel has poignantly captured the power of America’s wide open spaces upon the human psyche, opening a window onto desolate isolation from within the busy plurality of a city. Despite the hilarity gained through the medium of theatre, MilkMilkLemonade needs to be made into a film, where such landscapes and characterisations can be given more depth and potency. For now though, the heart-warming satisfaction of this play’s uninhibited boldness and hyperactive theatrics are appeasing enough. Conkel’s fusion of the old and the traditional with typified features of popular culture create a highly engaging form of modern theatre.
MilkMilkLemonade is at Ovalhouse Theatre until 25th October 2014, for further information or to book visit here.
Watch the trailer for MilkMilkLemonade here: