The Milkman’s On His Way
It’s 2019 and we have so made so many advances when it comes to LGBTQ+ rights, here in the UK at least, but for many of us the memories of the oppressive Thatcher regime’s Clause 28 will never fade, especially in the light of recent events in British schools where some parents are objecting and protesting at an education system that is trying to offer young people a balanced education when it comes to relationships and sex.
So nothing could be better timed than this excellent dramatisation of David Rees’s extraordinary 1980s novel, that broke ground and many rules when it came to talking about queer love.
It’s no small feat staging a novel that takes place across a span of time and place like this but this excellent play, written with great sensitivity by Kevin Kelly does just that. And by saying sensitive I do not mean that he skates around the essential sexual element of the story, it’s not explicit in a prurient or voyeuristic way, but you do get to know what the central character is going through as he finds his way forward in a society where homosexuality is still very much taboo, and especially in a small Cornish seaside town.
The excellent cast bring everything vibrantly to life on a simple but well conceived set and the director Tim McArthur has employed elements of physical theatre to convey the audience from moment to moment with elegant clarity.
This is important theatre, a story that still needs to be told and in this case it has been told so very well. It’s also amazing to think that for many of the cast they were not born when the claws of thatcher’s clause were threatening the freedom and rights of so many people in such an oppressive way. Congratulation to every member of this first class company, and let’s hope that it gets the audience it richly deserves, not just here but far beyond. This is movingly unmissable theatre.
The Old Court Room
Running until Sunday 12 May