I don’t know if it was true, but I was once told of a milkman who made a delivery to a customer during a heat wave. The client had already gone to work but left a bucket of water on the porch and a note with the instruction, “Please leave the milk in the water.The milkman – time being of the essence and all that – quickly poured the milk into the bucket and continued on his way. I doubt Martin (Ken Bradshaw) did anything similar – I suspect he wouldn’t have noticed the sign at all and left the milk in the usual place in the usual way.
That’s the thing with Martin, though – he keeps going, while his wife Kath (Sally George) is savvy enough to figure out what’s going on. It’s not a spoiler to say that door-to-door milk deliveries have gradually disappeared as more and more people have started to buy milk from supermarkets at a lower price than the milkmen themselves could buy from their own suppliers. When Martin’s milk float is a radiation, it’s the kind of metaphor teachers would almost yell at students in an English literature lesson, pointing to a line of work that’s just as fundamentally broken as the float itself. The world has evolved.
You can’t blame Martin for trying, even getting his daughter Sophie (Matilda Tucker) into the business once she decided that being a martial arts trainer isn’t something you want to do. she wants to keep doing. Her boyfriend Pete (Joseph Reed) pursues a career in plumbing, and her younger brother Billy (Dominic Jones) goes off to art school in London, after impressing the admissions officer enough in an interview, with a portrait of Dolly Parton.
The narrative isn’t as developed as it could be, and the play ends quite abruptly, leaving the audience to think for themselves about what happens to one of the characters next. It is essentially a sad story of woeful failure to achieve aspirations, none of which were dishonorable or ridiculous in themselves. Hats off to the production’s accent coach, Mary Howland: the Yorkshire accents in the room were so good that there were a few occasions where I could hear whispers in the audience as people tried to confirm what had just been said!
There are stereotypes in the show – there’s the father figure who expresses no emotion when, say, Billy gets some good news, and the ever-stroppy daughter who’s rather more articulate in the room than she looks. is in “real life”. , if only because the audience wouldn’t otherwise understand an uncommunicative character, and the actor wouldn’t have much to do otherwise. Martin’s fear of change extends to a loss of appetite due to a lack of potatoes on the table simply because Kath felt like cooking something else for once.
Kath explodes into a Christmas Day tirade in a rant that gets impactful in more ways than one. Even though it sounded like something out of a soap opera, the expression of frustration and exasperation was relatable for anyone who found themselves in a situation where others couldn’t see the wood for the trees. The scene plays a bit off-the-wall, but that’s hardly problematic in a play that strikes the right balance between comedy and sincerity.
Not everything is entirely believable, at least not to me – Sophie seemed made for tougher things than a petulant martial arts black belt candidate who fails her exam because everything she’s done landed the Examiner in A&E. (Not that I know anything about martial arts, but wouldn’t that mean she did it with flying colors?) Youtube. But, all things considered, it’s a copious and worthwhile production.
Comment by Chris Omaweng
Things are not going to plan for a family from Yorkshire.
Martin’s milk float collapses and something is wrong with Kath’s sink. Billy tries to get into art school with a portrait of Dolly Parton. Sophie dreams of her black belt while Pete, a local plumber, quietly falls in love.
Amid the drama and dirty dishes, something has to give…
This new 10th anniversary production of Tom Wells’ award-winning gem is a loving and sweet portrait of working-class family life.
Ken Bradshaw Martin
Sally George Kath
Dominic Jones Billy
Joseph Reed Pete
Mathilde Tucker Sophie
Designer Zoe Hurwitz
Stephen Pemble Lighting Designer
Jack Baxter sound designer and composer
Nicola Thomas Costume Supervisor
Molly Wilsher Production Assistant
Mathew Russell Executive Producer
Queen’s Theater Hornchurch, Ticket Lane, Hornchurch. RM11 1QT
The kitchen sink
Dates: March 17 – April 2, 2022