Review – The Dip ***

Milk and Blood’s production The Dip arrives at The Space for its first London run. We meet Al (writer Eifion Ap Cadno) and Nic (Max Young) and discover that Al (“I’m not gay. I have a girlfriend!”) really wants to kiss Nic. Although he comes tantalisingly close, before he can do so chaos erupts in the form of the Baba Ganoush Gestapo, who whisk him away for questioning by Nicole (looking remarkably like Nic, but in a skirt, cardigan and earring ensemble). Somehow Al is then the groom at a sort of arranged marriage to Nicole. Cue copious eruptions of confetti. Al’s resistance to going through with the ceremony brings on officer Flatfish (Nick Mauldin in a remarkable six foot halibut costume), from whose interrogation he emerges to find himself back in the room with Nic. Following his trippy experience he now finds he has the emotional courage to go with his desires and they kiss.

This has the feel of a piece developed by some sort of workshop process with the cast. They are credited as writing the original music but they also seem highly invested in their characters and the physicality of the performance. It’s the kind of thing that suits The Space admirably with its intimate and distinctly avant garde atmosphere. The company use this in the performance when the audience is invited to stand for the arrival of the bridal party at the wedding ceremony – which we all duly did!

But is there anything sufficiently new or original in the message about being confident in your own sexuality and not being afraid of your feelings? I’m not sure. Whilst the workshop style gives a feeling of spontaneity, empathy with the characters suffers as they don’t seem real enough. But perhaps those in the audience more familiar with the hallucinogenic experiences depicted found it more engaging. Certainly there were plenty who found it not only amusing but outright hilarious.

Theatre like this that’s doing and saying things differently is to be applauded. It creates a space for stories that conventional theatre finds harder to tell. And at just about an hour it’s the perfect length, especially if you feel to some extent you’re not quite in the target group!

The Dip is at The Space Arts Centre until 2 February 2019.


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