The tale of Bluebeard is a commonly told fairytale, featuring a husband who kills off his wives, and the struggle that the final wife endures when she discovers the dark secrets of her new husband. Milk Presents, a new company of young theatre-makers, reinvents the Bluebeard tale especially for adults. This devised Bluebeard is excellently presented in a devised and semi-cabaret style using music, overhead projections and an exciteable cast.
You can see so much work at the Edinburgh Festival and feel indifferent to it, but to find a glimmer of promise from a new company is worth all the shows put together. Milk Presents’ Bluebeard has a distinct quality about it, with the company utilising a number of techniques to deliver the story. It is the sense of honesty and inventiveness that really strikes you. They shift from direct-address to the audience, to creating witty songs and providing electricity from a bicycle for lighting on the stage. It’s extremely playful and as an ensemble the cast continually feed of each other’s energy to create momentum.
Whilst Milk Presents offers a unique take on Bluebeard, like any new company it still has a fair amount of work to put back into the production itself, but this will naturally develop as it continues to home its craft. For now, Bluebeard is the promise of future work that will most certainly put the company on contemporary/devised theatre-lovers’ radar.
As an ensemble company, the ability to switch from acting to operating various technical aspects of the shows to delivering a tune as a band, will stand them in good stead for future work. Bluebeard doesn’t take itself too seriously, the element of play is a constant theme and one that is most thankfully received by its audience. We laugh, we admire and we begin to journey into the stylised world of Bluebeard and his deceased wives. Bluebeard himself (played by Adam Robertson) is all about the twinkle in his eyes and his slick hair, his looks lure the women before he strikes them with their death sentence. The three wives – played by Saskia Solmons, Ruby Glaskin and Lucy Doherty (who also directs) – are played with differing characterisation and each with a song, too. Finally Jacob James Beswick as a compere is brilliant at relaxing the audience, belting out some improvised lines and is certainly a strong performer and singer. Together Milk Presents gives Bluebeard a workover, and whilst the ending comes a little too soon (the story seems a little rushed), the overall affect of presenting a different side to the tale is achieved well.
If you’re looking for a new company to support, then look no further because Milk Presents has something to offer and will certainly blossom in years to come.