Pentabus brings theatrical brilliance to Shrewsbury.

Milked

Walker Theatre

17/March/2015

 

Milked, from the pen of Simon Longman and performed by our own local company, Pentabus; bravely explores the lot of two twenty-somethings stuck in in rural surroundings.

The play ran for a straight 67 minutes and demonstrates pure excellence in the art of theatre.

So many plays look at the problems of city life, it is a refreshing thought that people are aware of the difficulties faced by teenagers in rural communities and rural settings.These are teenagers who don’t necessarily want to leave the beauty of their surroundings but are driven to do so by the lack of choices around them.

In an almost Pinteresque style script the two boys, Snowy and Paul shared their memories ,their thoughts and their goals with each other.  Paul was the studious graduate who having returned home with his history degree, found that it was as good as useless as he tried to force his way into some sort of media position. Snowy on the other hand was slightly more guarded and realised that all that there for him was a spell in the army.

Conflict arises naturally when Paul finds out by accident that Snowy is enlisting and tensions mount as they are side-tracked by Sandy the cow, who is out in a field, simply dying.

 Initially Snowy had the interest in the cow as he was the one that found him, but Paul motivated by his lack of success in getting employment gives his time to the cow and wonders how he might go about killing it.

Was the cow metaphoric; were the two boys really facing death in rural Britain? Were the real issues  rural-depopulisation and the bleak choices faced by anyone stuck where there is nothing for them? One could view this show on many levels.

Paul’s sense of betrayal was palpable as he learned of his friend’s aim to enlist. Snowy knew it would be and kept it from him. He stood by quietly instead and watched as Paul grew deeper and deeper in application forms and CVs. Never once did he come up with any ideas about what he wanted to do.

One can’t help but wonder about how Snowy might be with an enemy in his gun sights, whether it was his choice to join or whether he did it out of family honour or expectation, it will be him who ultimately has to pull the trigger and it will be him that lives with the consequences of that. One would hope nobody would allow themselves to be coercesd into such a position? Would they?

The question that presents itself is even though life is tough in the country and there isn’t much to do for youngsters;  is forming a blind allegiance to kill for it necessarily the right thing to do?

This is a lovely piece of work, beautifully, simplistically presented and yet sophisticated in the extreme. The acting was not only unquestionably good, it was in fact wonderful. The audience were treated to three diensional characters with depth and back stories.

Our youngsters face so much. We as adults face it but then soon forget the whole transient period between not being quite a grown up but way too old to be considered children.

This isn’t a play about the death of rural England and neither is an anthem for doomed youth. It is just an exploration of country life. Neither boy was in a position that held no answers; they were just in a position that required addressing. So many people are.

This is a great play beautifully acted and well presented. A play that can present as many questions as answers is always a play that one must see.

This is a four star review.

Owen Lewis

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Owen Lewis Owen Lewis

Owen Lewis was born fifty something years ago in the land of the black puddings. For the geographically challenged that is in Lancashire. Moving to Shropshire From 1970 Owen was brought up in Church Stretton. His first real job was in radio. After starting on BBC Radio Shropshire he became known on Marcher Sound, broadcasting throughout the North West for several years. After a university degree course in Theatre, Owen became an actor and went on to play "Pirate Bill" in The Alton Towers Hotel. He also made several television appearances. Returning to university he took his PGCE enabling him to teach. That saw him on the Essex coast as a drama teacher and latterly as a Creative Educational Liaison Officer making films and creating new teaching methods to employ on children in need of more help in their fundamental learning skills. Published playwright Owen ultimately wants a house boat in Amsterdam to focus on his work as Playwright and Poet.

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